March 30, 2010,
J.W. asks from Flower Mound, TX on March 17, 2010
Gift / Ideas for Son Going to Air Force Boot Camp
My son turns 19 this month. He leaves for Boot Camp on May 11th. He can't take much with him and I believe it is still limited on what he can take to his job training after Boot Camp. I would like to get him something useful and/or memorable. I bought him concert tickets that he asked for, but this is his last Birthday as a civilian and living in our house, I'd like it to mean a little more. If anyone has thoughts - I'd really appreciate hearing them!!
D.Q. answers from Green Bay on March 17, 2010
You are very right, they cannot bring a whole lot, and what he does pack, he'll probably only be taking half of that while the rest is put in storage. I love the post below! I had a small cross on my dog tags when I went away. I wasn't really religious either, but it seemed to me that many people reached out for some "higher being" while in boot camp and AT. :) If you really want to get him something he can use, get him a small stationary set with PRE-STAMPED envelopes. While in training, you really have no personal belongings, just uniforms and anything government issued. You can, however have a bible. As I said, I wasn't super religous, but I did bring a bible and taped some small photos of my family in the front cover. Perhaps, you could have his family and friends write little notes on the pages, where ever they can find room. Tell him he can't read it until he's gone, and if you're not religous, just tell him he can't read it until he's gone and he'll understand once he's there. Boot camp and AT can be very difficult, lonely times so I'm sure he'd love to see some smiling faces and notes from home, not to mention some of the very uplifting passages in the bible. When I was in Army boot camp, we could only read our "smart books" and the bible. Even for someone who isn't religious, you can't help but to enjoy the stories and passages of the bible! Really, just about anything else will get taken away from him until after boot camp. You must be very proud of your son. He is going to learn so much and experience things that he wouldn't have the opportunity to anywhere else. What an exciting time for him!
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V.C. answers from Dallas on March 17, 2010
I agree about the Bible. You might bookmark the passages in Ephesians about putting on the armor of God.
My nephew likes for us to send him things he likes to eat.
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G.C. answers from Dallas on March 18, 2010
It has been 20 years since I left for AF basic but I remember it like yesterday. Mail call is crucial, your whole day revolves around it. Send him something every single day. Send a care package once a week, but not on the same day each week. Include gum, phone cards, homemade goodies, candy bars to share etc. There is no privacy or storage so don't send anything valuable, sentimental or embarassing. If you want something big and symbolic to give him beforehand, if you can afford it, an open ended plane ticket home from anywhere would make a big impact. He may never use it but I guarantee he will always have it close. The emotional idea of being able to go home will carry him through his rough days.
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A.S. answers from Denver on March 17, 2010
The nicest "thing" I got was mail during mail call. Since there is no TV, no internet, no nothing having some news from home was the best. With all the games the TIs play with folding your foot locker, etc I wouldn't get him anything to take with him. Save that for when he gets to his job training base; there's a LOT more flexibility there.
R.F. answers from Dallas on March 18, 2010
Stationary, stamps, phone cards.
J.F. answers from Dallas on March 18, 2010
From experience - my son is army. Some heavy duty Dr. Scholl's blister patches and an All-Weather Outdoorsman Bible. This will help take care of his body and spirit.
I wish you both all my best.
R.M. answers from Nashville on March 17, 2010
My mom bought my husband a St. Christopher medal when he left for boot camp. He can wear it on his dogtags and he is the partron saint of travelers. To keep him safe. I'm sure there is a patron saint of just about anything out there if something else would be more meaningful. We aren't super religious, and aren't catholic (but do have a catholic background in the family) so it was just meant as something to keep him safe. He really appreciated it.
V.B. answers from Dallas on March 18, 2010
A small album with family pictures to keep near by and treasure while away.