18 answers

Seeking Gift Ideas for Nephew Who Is Leaving for Bootcamp

This request is for Moms or family members of the military. My nephew is leaving for Lackland AFB to start bootcamp in a few weeks. There will be a send off party for him soon. Any ideas on gifts that are nice and practical?

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Thanks so much to everyone that responded! I like the idea of creating an address book of the family for him and will also plan to write him and send a care package later. Our family is so proud of his decision and we know that he will excel during his time in the Air Force! Thank you again!

Featured Answers

Like others have said, he won't be able to take much. He'll have a list of what he needs, and maybe you can help him get his list together. Other than that, care packages may not be allowed (and he might be lightly punished--pushups and all that--if he gets one). Letters are always welcome, though! The phone/address book is a great idea, and also vitamins aren't bad, if he can have them. He'll be much more flexible after he leaves boot camp, so feel free to send him a gift after graduation or care packages once he gets to tech school (it's still nice to be remembered after basic)!

A stationary set so he can write home. Also add some self addressed stamped envelopes to make it a little easier for him. A pocket calendar would be nice. Its small and doesn't take any space. You can also give him a prepaid calling card. In case he gets a chance to call home.

More Answers

Icy Hot and ear plugs?

I'm not sure he can take much with him actually. If he's married and/or has children you could give them something like movie tickets or other entertainment since they will have time on their hands and probably short on cash for leisure stuff.

Be sure to let him know that his service is soooo appreciated!

We did a send off party for my brother in law before he left for the Army's basic training. No one brought gifts (though some people brought some alcohol to share at the party).

I agree with previous poster saying to wait to give gifts til he graduates and then give it as a congrats.

My brother in law was just sooo touched that we had a party in honor of him. We also invited his recruiter and several key people who helped guide him to the decision he made to join the Army.

We're actually about to start planning our next send off party for a dear friend who's leaving for the Army in March.

Good luck to your nephew and to the family-it's hard watching them go but they come back sooo strong and considerate and smart.

Phone cards. I know they are not 'nice' but they are practical.

Wait till he graduates. At that point he will know where he is headed next and what he might possibly need then. You never know where you will end up-he could end up in a totally different climate than he is used to(16 years of being a miliatry spouse has taught me this). They pretty much take everything from them and put it in storage while they are training. As for getting off base, that won't happen either till after graduation.

Wait til he graduates. When my son went in, he wasn't allowed anything but the clothes he wore. Good luck to your nephew.

When my husband went to bootcamp, he was only allowed the clothes on his back, and those were shipped home within a day or so. All phone calls home were set up through the military. My husband did really enjoy getting mail and writing letters home. You might buy stamps, writing paper, and envelopes for him, but I'm not even sure that he can have that until later. When my husband was there, they weren't allowed access to email either. Another idea is maybe a giftcard to his favorite restaurant that he can use right before he goes to bootcamp. The food there won't be good, and as I remember it, they weren't even allowed to have sodas.

If it anything like Marine Corps bootcamp; they can take nothing with them but the cloths on their back. I would either give money or give an IOU for when he is able to have things with him. (Camera, flip, money,wallet size pictures,laptop are all ideas)

Like others have said, he won't be able to take much. He'll have a list of what he needs, and maybe you can help him get his list together. Other than that, care packages may not be allowed (and he might be lightly punished--pushups and all that--if he gets one). Letters are always welcome, though! The phone/address book is a great idea, and also vitamins aren't bad, if he can have them. He'll be much more flexible after he leaves boot camp, so feel free to send him a gift after graduation or care packages once he gets to tech school (it's still nice to be remembered after basic)!

E. D, you cannot send him off with any personal items. Reserve your items for three weeks into the basic training, then send some cookies. Do not trust him with a telephone card until he knows what way the tidal wave is coming from. Support him by sending him letters of support and how proud you are of him. Tell your friends to send him letters of support and memories of his friendship before he enlisted, be prepared to go see him when he request it and he will let you know--do not anticipate him and book your arrivals at the base early during graduation then go eat at the Tower of the Americas, but you do need to have him back by a certain hour. He will let you know when he can come home. Tell him to be prepared for his Dream Sheet. He knows what this will mean. Have him look out for himself and don't give a damn about anything else. Joe

My son just graduated Air Force bootcamp in October. He said to only bring the stuff that is on the list their recruiter gives them. The Air Force did not ship his clothes back, he kept them but was not able to wear them. They will be able to make very little calls home, so I would suggest a pre-paid phone card. My son said the prepaid phone card was great. Also, they are allowed to write, so paper, pen and already stamped and addressed envelopes would be great. Also, they need to only bring a small amount of cash because they have to actually record every bit of money they have and keep a log of it. My son was able to use his debit card a little. Please email me if you would like any additional info. I would be glad to let you know.

I would follow the other suggestions with the phone card..have him memorize the numbers on it..they can't take that away...and pre-stamped envelopes. Writing letters home was my husbands relaxing time.When they got any at all. He memorized the phone card numbers and I just kept reloading it while he was gone. He got to spend more time on the phone because while the others were in line waiting to get their cards, he was already talking...
Have a congrats party when he returns with the things he will need for his barracks (if that is where he will live) Like bedding cleaning supplies, and other things to make himself a home away from home.

Care pack of goodies, if allowed; A phone card to call family & friends.

A small phone/address book. Have EVERYONE put their names and numbers in the book. When my son went he thought he would remember numbers. of course when it was time to call home, he could hear us, but we couldn't hear him. He couldn't remember his grandparents #'s to call, so therefor he sat in the booth and cried. Don't let that happen to your nephew. My son only was able to call twice. Prepaid phone card (no cells phone)
Also stamps, envelopes and plain notebook paper. While in boatcamp, YOU write him. Only write. No gum, no fudge,only pictures that have been printed out. Not actual pictures. My son watched as the commander would chewed the gum & return it to the boy. Fugde that went into the trash. Another mom sent pictures in frames, only have the boy repack them and send them back home.
Write to him. He'll need words of envouragement. BUT ony write. Send nothing. Tell him we're proud of him, and thanks for serving our country. Tell his mom, its ok and I'll be in prayer for her. (I cried when my sob went for a physical until I realized this is what he really wanted to do.) good luck
B. (proud Navy mom of a son who served on a submarine for 5 years. He is now home & in the Navy reserves.)

A stationary set so he can write home. Also add some self addressed stamped envelopes to make it a little easier for him. A pocket calendar would be nice. Its small and doesn't take any space. You can also give him a prepaid calling card. In case he gets a chance to call home.

don't send any food or fun stuff! he will get razzed by his training instructor. (i know~went through lackland boot camp myself) most of his personal items will be confiscated and kept in a closet until he leaves for tech school, so maybe send him a SMALL photo album, most of the girls in my flight had one and it's nice to see the faces of people who love you in a situation made to push you to your limits. the best thing to do is to write a lot, even if you don't get any return mail.

gift cards like, visa, phone cards are great but remember he will only be able to call once or twice while there, etc. they kind that can be purchased at the stores, they are not allowed to take anything other than their clothes and some of those will be sent back home by the service. Photos, etc some can go but they will have limited space for things and they will have limited time.

With him just entering basic training at Lackland, unfortunately, they are not allowed to bring anything with them.

You could give him a gift after he finishes basic training as a way to say Congratulations.

I remember you can't take much with you when you join the military (I was in the Army years ago). I do remember how important mail-call and care-packages were though. Be sure you have his address and if you send cookies or snacks - please be sure you send enough for everyone in his company!! It's all about being a team.

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