For a lot of people, Air Force Basic Training is the first time they receive and write letters to friends and family. With e-mails, texting, instant messaging, etc, etc, etc, there isn't much reason for writing to or receiving letters from friends and family anymore. Air Force Basic Training changes all that.
Being unable to send abbreviated messages every other minute to your boy friend or girlfriend is just one of the harsh realities of being in the basic training environment. Without these modes of communication, letter writing suddenly comes out of the drawer of obscurity, and becomes the lifeblood of communication between friends and family.
I am not going to explain how to write letters to one another, that is for a different blog. I am simply going to explain what not to send through the mail to your trainee during Air Force Basic Training. If you are the one leaving for BMT, make sure to give the following list to your friends and family.
1. First and foremost, do not send anything that your trainee is prohibited from taking to basic training. A list of prohibited items can be found in The Ultimate Air Force Basic Training Guidebook under Chapter 10 - Packing for BMT: Helpful Tips on What to Bring.
2. Avoid sending any food. Any packages received during basic training will be opened in front of the Military Training Instructor and the rest of the trainees. MTIs have different ways of handling it when trainees receive food. A common practice is to give the receiving trainee a chance to eat the food. However, there are conditions. 1. The trainee must eat all the food, and 2. The trainee must eat it within 2-3 minutes. This may not sound so bad, but consuming a box full of brownies in 3 minutes is a gut-wrenching experience, especially when your body is has been otherwise deprived of all sweets.
3. Don't send clothes. This is more prevalent during the holidays. Friends and family want to send their trainee presents. Don't. Not only will they not be able to wear any of it, but they will have to pack it when they leave for technical school and packing space is very limited. On top of that, any clothing item, especially with any type of logo, is fuel for the fire when it comes to MTIs belittling trainees.
4. Don't send letters that smell of perfume or cologne. This is a favorite of MTIs when they are handing out mail. Again it is just one more bit of ammunition for them .
5. Don't send pictures you don't want others to see. Any pictures that you send will be seen by the MTI and probably all of the other trainees. Provocative pictures will be confiscated and at have been known to appear hung up for the entire group to see.
These are five of the most common things sent to trainees that should not be. What you should send are letters filled with words of encouragement, love and support. That is what your trainee will need from you doing Air Force Basic Training.