With the advent of e-mail, texting, and instant messaging, letter writing is becoming a lost art. If you want to practice your writing skills, why not write to a member of the United States military deployed overseas? Many service members do not receive mail, and your letter could help alleviate the loneliness and feeling of isolation that often accompanies a long deployment overseas or deployment in a combat zone. Several organisation can help you locate a deserving soldier.
Contact an organisation that specialises in helping deployed soldiers receive mail and care packages, such as Anysoldier.com, Carepackageproject.com, or Adoptaplatoon.org. Complete a pen pal application if the organisation you choose requires it for soldier confidentiality purposes. Read the organisation's guidelines regarding the number of soldiers you may write and the kinds of letters or cards you should mail. Request that the organisation supply you with either the name and address of a deserving soldier or the organisation's address, if your letters are to be addressed generically and included with care packages.
Plan to write to your soldier at least twice per week. Include information about your hometown, yourself, your family, and things that are happening where you live. Keep the tone of your letter upbeat and positive; many of the soldiers are in serious combat situations and will read your letter to help alleviate the stress of their current situation. Invite your soldier to tell you about himself and his background, but keep in mind that it may not be possible for him to write you back. Continue to write your soldier regularly, even if you haven't received a response letter. Your letters may be his only link to home in the United States, so don't underestimate their importance.
Carefully follow the organisation's submission guidelines to avoid your letter being discarded for these reasons: the letter is a photocopy, the letter is unnecessarily sealed or the letter is typed and not handwritten. Address your letter and mail it to either the soldier or to the organisation responsible for collecting and dispersing mail to the troops.
It isn't necessary to affix international postage to your letter. The mail will go to a stateside post office and then be forwarded to your soldier's duty station.
Tips and warnings
- It isn't necessary to affix international postage to your letter. The mail will go to a stateside post office and then be forwarded to your soldier's duty station.