Friday, November 6, 2009

Special Holiday Boxes for Troops

My darling man is currently deployed to Iraq.
I will be mailing his holiday box no later than the 20th of November.
Today's entry is an attempt to help those not familiar with mailing to the troops.

First, the box.
You get them free at the Post Office. Cost 12 bucks to mail to any APO address.
Doesn't matter what it weighs as long as it is under 70 pounds.

Here are good basic rules for mailing to Iraq/Afghanistan:
No alcohol (don't even try to sneak it in a bottle of mouthwash, customs knows that trick. Sneaking in alcohol is a great way to get a soldier tossed out of the Army...whether he asked for the alcohol or not)
Nothing explosive (well, d'uuuuh)
No knives or other weapons.
Nothing flammable. on to the good stuff:
Here's a list of goodies that is common place in *Care* packages that the troops appreciate:
Baby Wipes
Hard candies
Beef jerky
Deviled Ham (not the *potted meat* stuff, DEVILED HAM! UNDERWOOD DEVILED HAM!)
Snack packs of ham salad, chicken salad, that come with crackers.
Gold Bond Foot Powder
Gold Bond Body Powder
New socks
Pillow Cases (Seriously, most of the guys have no pillow cases! Get silly and send them one with a cartoon character--Spongebob is a favorite, also Superman and other superheroes)
Shower gel/Body wash
Cakes in a jar

Whatever you send, please realize the delivery time can vary between 2 weeks to 6 weeks depending on where they are.
Packages are frequently stored in un-air conditioned or unheated storage areas once they reach Iraq/Afghanistan.
Sometimes they are loaded on pallets, a tarp is tossed over them and they set them outside until a flight or a vehicle is available to take them to their proper destination.

So, that being said:

Packing the box:
Bubble wrap is a wonderful thing for padding the box.
You can also use crumpled up newspaper, plastic grocery bags and the like.
OR, use hard candies as a packing material!
Get creative! Socks, goofy pairs of boxers, a tee shirt with a funny saying, all make good packing material.

Now...on a more serious note....
I included elderberry syrup and honeyed ginger slices in my fellas last package.
The elderberry syrup for H1N1 preventative and treatment.
The honeyed ginger slices for basic coughs and colds and sore throats.

Terrific recipe for elderberry syrup can be found here:

The troops in my fellas AO have been given the seasonal flu shot, but are not being vaccinated for H1N1. Also, there is a high degree of skepticism about the effectiveness (especially in the medical community) about said vaccination. In places such as the Ukraine, China, Poland and Eastern Europe, it appears that the H1N1 has mutated or recombined with other viruses and has now become a type of Hemorrhagic Fever/Virus, meaning that blood fills the lungs and pours out of every bodily orifice. There may also be sores on the skin with bleeding presented.

Elderberry syrup has been shown to be effective against the H1N1 virus and other flu types.
So, my fella will have a couple of jars of elderberry syrup *just in case*.

When you send a package, you have to fill out a customs form.
On said form, you list the contents of the package.
I keep it simple:
Snacks, canned meat, home-made jam (simpler than explaining elderberry syrup on the form!), hygiene supplies.
About one out of 20 packages is opened is what I am told. I think that estimate is high, but I always assume MY package is the one that will be opened. So, if I include a present (such as for Christmas/Yule/Birthday) I do not wrap it, I just find one of those cute bags and tuck it into that.
There's my best advice, if you send packages, try to keep it neat and simple!


  1. Great article. Being a veteran, I think you hit this right on the money.

    BTW did you get banned from survivalistboards?

  2. Great post on packages :) What a great idea about the Elderberry. I give that to my boys too :)

  3. Jkrens, I was banned for a month and when I returned I requested an apology from the mod (now former mod) that banned me, as his comments were what caused me to get banned (long story). No apology was forthcoming and, in fact, I was insulted and scolded for even asking for one.I then requested that my account be deleted along with every post I had made there, but they refused to do that. I have not been back since.They are useless, the mods are out of control and the advice and *expertise* there is highly suspect and can be dangerous. (I have seen toxic plants touted as herbal medicines, bad gun/ammo advice, etc) I won't be back there.

  4. I have come to realize that myself. There are so many noobs who claim to have "expert advice". There are so many members that it becomes hard to filter out the good information from the bad. Lucky for me, I know better, but unlucky for everyone else who is searching for real information to save themselves and/or their families.

    Do you recommend any other forums?

    And thank you for keeping your blog up at least.

  5. Jkrens:
    If you are serious about survival, guns, etc and are of a conservative mindset, get thee to
    It can be harsh there (as in, if you post something stupid, they WILL point it out!). And thread drift there can take on epic proportions, lol! Tell them VD sent you (you'll get that when you look around there). Also, there are 2 or 3 survival authors that regularly post there and a few firearm experts. And I mean expert to the point that manufacturers ask them their opinion!
    A new forum that is excellent is

    I have posted a few times there and the guy running it is ferfal (aka Fernado). He wrote a book on the collapse in Argentina and has good videos, etc up.


Because of a couple of rude people that left comments that included links to porn pages and such, I have been forced to start moderating comments again.