Many people find themselves compelled to reach out to the servicemen and women who are putting their lives on the line overseas. Luckily, showing your support through writing has never been more simple.
To adopt a pen pal in Iraq, identify to whom you'd like to write and where to send the letter. This can be done online, though sites vary. Some may ask you to register and post your information on a forum so someone can contact you, while others include listings in which soldiers opt to have their name distributed to pen pals.
Some sites, such Anysoldier, allow you to browse soldier profiles that include messages about their platoon and living arrangements, needs, etc. Other sites may assign you a soldier randomly. Some soldiers may register to receive letter individually, while others sign up to be a point of contact for their platoon and distribute letters and care packages.
After you have decided on which soldier to adopt, it is now time to obtain their contact information. Sites such as www.mysoldier.com request a donation but include a starter kit to help you begin your pen pal relationship, while others send you contact information immediately via e-mail.
Write as if introducing yourself to a new friend. Tell them about yourself and ask questions about their likes and dislikes. Keep letters upbeat and cheerful. Since many are registered as a point of contact for a platoon, always begin your letter with "Dear Soldier" so it is geared to whichever soldier it is distributed to when it arrives in Iraq.
Mail your letter as you would any other. Make sure the envelope includes both legible handwriting and proper postage. If your package or letter weighe 454gr or more, make sure it is accompanied by customs form 2976-A.
Add your e-mail address in your letter as it may be easier for a soldier to respond electronically. Enclose a self-addressed, stamped envelope as this may ensure a quicker response.