When I was deployed there was nothing that could compare to hearing “MAIL CALL” and finding a hot pink duct taped box with my name on it. I knew that someone back home was thinking about me and it didn’t matter what was in that box, it made my day a million times better. There are a few things that always made me dance just a little bit more in my office when I found them in my boxes….
1. Personal care
You can never have enough chapstick! Though it’s smart to steer clear of anything with a color tint. And it doesn’t matter if you’re a guy or gal, nail clippers are often left off the deployment packing list but you’ll find yourself needing more than you’d imagine.
2. Quick clean-up supplies
Have you ever been on a Navy ship? No matter how long cleaning stations might be you never want to be without hand sanitizer in your pocket. And of course water restrictions will always come on the hottest days. Baby wipes are a life saver when you need to feel just a little bit clean.
3. Flat Stanley
I don’t know a pilot who isn’t proud to have Flat Stanley in the cockpit with them or a mech who won’t let Stanley help with a repair. (https://www.flatstanley.com/)
4. Food and drinks
Military cooks can only do so much with what they are given. On the days that its mystery meat surprise day beef jerky is the go-to dinner of choice. To me, something about shelling an entire bag of pistachios or being able to grab a handful of salt n’ pepper peanuts before rushing off to the next task makes it great quick fuel so nuts are always a good choice.
And shy of being stuck in the arctic, it’s hot on deployment so non-meltable candy is wonderful! Sour patch kids. Skittles. Twizzlers. Mike n Ikes. Hard candy. Anything that isn’t going to turn into a chocolate melted mess.
Every Sailor, Marine, Soldier, and Airman has their own water bottle and it’s far better to have a Mio on hand than trying to just toss a piece of candy into it to flavor their water. Yes, I know, Skittles make great flavoring in a pinch, but go ahead and toss some drink mix in the next package you send out.
Who cares if the gossip we’re reading is a month old or if it’s last months GQ, we just want to read a little of what is going on back in the states. It’s easy to feel like you’re living in a bubble on deployment. And you’d have to be living a bubble to not know the newest trend of coloring books taking over. It doesn’t matter how old someone is, when they get a box full of coloring supplies they turn into a kid all over again.
6. Pictures and love letters
Even the smallest rack has room to tape up wallet-sized pictures of family to remind us of what we’re doing all of this for. Love letters written in your own hand writing and drawings done by the kids will find their way to uniform pockets and tucked into boots as mementos from home.
Speaking of boots, when your feet are stuck in combat boots all day every day you wear out socks really freaking fast! And while you’re at it, send shoe spray! Even the most hygienic person gets funky smelling boots after a while and no one wants to be the stinking kid in berthing!
8. Female products
While bathroom supplies will be on most troops wish lists, it’s often overlooked how many females are deployed. We have a few extra needs while we’re out there. Mother Nature doesn’t stop calling just because we are deployed. Oh and it doesn’t hurt to pick out a fun nail polish to stick in the care package. It’s nice to have hot pink toes in those combat boots!