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7/8/2020 3:01:36 PM
Posted: 4/17/2009 6:27:30 PM EDT
Hey guys,


My son is somewhere  in transit to Iraq to relieve the guys from the 4th ID .

He's with the 30th Heavy Combat Brigade(HCB), 1st Batallion Co.B, 120th Infantry Regt.  from Ft.Bragg.

Once he gets squared away and I get his address, I want to send him a few things to read and other stuff he might need, then see about a magazine subscription for him and a few platoon buddies, especially the guys who hardly get anything from home!


Does anyone know what I can & CAN'T send in bulk rate boxes from USPS ? Are there better ways besides the bulk rate box? What is the going bulk rate now?

Outside of the usual stuff to send would the VETS here on the board help me out with ideas that can survive the enviroment, plus a decent selection of items to send (candy,smokes, etc...) and stuff to avoid!



Thanks alot guys!!

Crazy..............


PS: Y'all can contact me direct too at "mgill49@yahoo.com".

Link Posted: 4/17/2009 7:07:23 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 4/17/2009 7:13:03 PM EDT by Charging_Handle]
Among the stuff that is suppose to be a no-no when shipping to Iraq includes porn, alcohol and products containing pork. That doesn't mean you can't send it of course, just that it will be confiscated if discovered.

As for the flat rate boxes, sometimes they are the way to go and sometimes not. They work out really well when sending heavy items, provided the item is compact enough to fit the box. This would include stuff like lots of magazines. With those, the weight can really add up in a hurry. So the flat rate box may save you some coinage.  There are two types of flat rate boxes. I think one costs $8.95, the other $9.95. You can pick these up for free at your local post office (or online at usps.com) along with the customs declaration forms that accompany each box and lists the contents.

On the other hand, if the box you pack isn't very heavy, I often discovered I could ship it for less than what the flat rate boxes go for. After you've shipped a few, you'll develop a feel for it. FWIW, I have shipped some fairly large boxes, much larger than the flat rate boxes. Some of them probably weighed 15 lbs or more. Never were the shipping costs particularly unbearable. I think the most expensive box I ever sent over to Iraq cost around $14 or $15. Of course it also depends on what part of the country you're in too I suppose. But shipping costs seem reasonable, all things considered. Being on the East Coast, you should be in good shape in that regard.

As for items that prove particularly in demand, tobacco (cigarettes, cigars, dip and chew) seems to be what the Army runs on. Hehe. I always slipped some of this into my packages, even if the guy who was receiving it didn't chew or smoke (and it doesn't seem there are many who don't use tobacco in some form or other). It makes an excellent trade item. Otherwise, batteries are always in demand for their lights and electronic gadgetry. I'll make a list of some of the items I was told were popular off the top of my head. Certainly this list isn't all conclusive, but it should give you a start:

-drink mix (particularly stuff like Gatorade that contains electrolytes)
-foil packages of tuna, chicken and salmon
-Ramen
-hard candy (chocolate bars will melt in the Iraq heat during the warmer months)
-Lipton side packets
-trail mix
-beef jerky
-hot sauce
-cups of pudding or fruit
-moist wipes
-Q Tips
-Ivory soap (doesn't have a strong fragrance)
-Unscented deodorant (such as Mitchum)
-socks
-disposable razors
-tooth brush and tooth paste
-lip balm
-foot powder
-vitamin tablets
-board and card games
-MP3 players
-flashlights (can never have too many of these....can be the small 2D cell types like you get at Wal-Mart, don't have to be fancy)
-gun and car related magazines, along with some "discrete" skin mags (these are some young studs after all)
-local, regional and national newspapers

The list can go on and on. I know I am leaving off a bunch of items I've sent in the past, but I can't remember it all on the fly. Needless to say, if you have any doubts, just ask your son what he and his unit need. It will vary somewhat by unit and by location. Some units will have access to better PX's than others, just based on the luck of the draw when it comes to the area where they're assigned. Naturally, the needs will vary somewhat from location to location. But most of the things I mentioned are pretty much universally in demand.

You might also have to provide us with the address here at ARFCOM. I'm sure the guys who are running "Ranstad's Militia" would be more than willing to add you son's unit to their list of recipients for care packages. The stuff this board has sent to our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan has been nothing short of phenomenal. In fact, the first unit Ranstad's Militia (named after SPC Nick Ranstad) started supporting referred to the group as "The Magnificent Bastards", because no matter the need, they always came through. This board contributed everything from food to expensive pieces of weapon accessories, etc. That recon platoon was likely the best equipped in the entire US Army.

Good luck with your efforts. Please thank your son for his service. And if you wish, PM me his military address. I may be able to throw a few packages in his direction from time to time myself.
Link Posted: 4/17/2009 9:03:58 PM EDT
Hi Charging handle,


I wasn't able to find out from him earlier where they're going, but I found out on the web that his brigade is replacing the 4th Infantry Division . I don't know the name of the FOB that the 4th ID is at though. His biggest gripe is their (army) organizing ability is screwed up.  He was telling me that getting ready for deployment was like a giant goat_***k , and then due to bad planning at Fayetteville & the convention center quite a few people were turned away at the ceremony for the 30th HCB deployment. He was supposed to board the plane 9:00pm Tuesday and as off 6:00pm tonight (Friday) he was still in Fayetteville!

The army didn't figure on so many people. Go figure–15,000 capacity, almost 4,100 soldiers, then the remainder of room for families & friends!

Tonight I spoke to his mom (we're divorced) in Lumberton.NC and found out she was shut out and had to watch the ceremony on closed circuit TV.

The list I'm making up had alot of what you had but your list has a better selection of stuff. (so I swiped it!! LOL !)

What about stuff like music CD's or DVD's or is that going overboard ?

Regarding magazines, this Monday I'm gonna contact Guns & Ammo and find out about getting a subscription for him and a few of his buddies money permitting. Seems to me they were giving deep discounts for US servicemen stationed in Iraq or A-stan. I had gotten him a sub a while back but it may have expired.

I think he still uses chew but I'll check on that.

Thanks for your help and as soon as I get a good address I'll get back with ya!!


Thanks again!

Crazy......in MD
Link Posted: 4/17/2009 9:48:11 PM EDT
I would like to help you out if possible. I'm on the board of directors with a local Florida group http://www.rochellesbootsontheground.org/. Please take a look at the site and let me know what I can do for you.

If you would like send me an E-mail and I will personally see that he gets a package. I would also like to extend this to anyone on Arfcom with loved ones in the sandbox. We are also looking for any help that you can spare in terms of donations and frankly any Ideas on how we can maybe grow a bit more and help more of our fighting men and women out. We put 100% of all donations right into these care packages so please help out if you can and if anyone is in the Central Florida area and would like to volunteer time packing boxes please let us know as we could use the help.

Thanks for your son's service,

Yancy Betterly

ybetterly@aol.com
Link Posted: 4/18/2009 12:34:00 AM EDT
Originally Posted By Charging_Handle:
-drink mix (particularly stuff like Gatorade that contains electrolytes)
-foil packages of tuna, chicken and salmon
-Ramen
-hard candy (chocolate bars will melt in the Iraq heat during the warmer months)
-Lipton side packets
-trail mix
-beef jerky
-hot sauce
-cups of pudding or fruit
-moist wipes
-Q Tips
-Ivory soap (doesn't have a strong fragrance)
-Unscented deodorant (such as Mitchum)
-socks
-disposable razors
-tooth brush and tooth paste
-lip balm
-foot powder
-vitamin tablets
-board and card games
-MP3 players
-flashlights (can never have too many of these....can be the small 2D cell types like you get at Wal-Mart, don't have to be fancy)
-gun and car related magazines, along with some "discrete" skin mags (these are some young studs after all)
-local, regional and national newspapers



Before sending a whole bunch of stuff, I advise you ask him what he needs.  Maybe send a few generic boxes of stuff like the above while waiting for commo to settle down as he deploys.  I realize everyone's situation is different in Iraq;  some people have access to the PX, some don't , some have money to spend, some don't, some have preferences, some don't.

Strictly speaking from just my opinion is that most toiletries should not be sent.  Most people are picky about what toiletries they use, guys not as much as girls, but still I like MY razors and my shampoo.  If I had nothing else, of course I would use the ones sent to me.  Ask the Soldiers which ones they want, then send them those.  The PX often has a limited selection.  

One thing we do is set up a Canteen for Soldiers to go pick up toiletries and snacks.  People back home buy some value pack stuff from Sams or Costco and mail them to our Chaplain.  His assistant stocks it all on shelves and those plastic drawer thingies and all the Soldiers just go in and take what they want.

Drink mixes.  Where I am at, I can't swing a dead cat at all the drink mixes we have, every dining facility I have been in has tables full of them and premixed gatorade to boot.  Only thing I would recommend here is to ask if they want something specific that the DFAC doesn't have for them to take.

The snacky stuff is usually a good idea as is the candy.  We eat what we want and give the rest to the Iraqi kids.  Again though, ask your Soldier what he and his buddies like.  Write a letter to the company and often they will ship cases of the stuff over.  Be very careful with what skin mags you send.  Maxim and such is fine, true porn will get your Soldier in trouble, even if he didn't request it, if they search his mail on the way in, he will get a hard time over it.  Again, ask him what is allowed where he is and buy them a subscription is a great idea.

Get some friends to pool together and buy them an Xbox or two or find out what games they want and buy those.  My Soldiers play the shit out of HALO 3 on Xbox.  Do not send DVDs.  We can get them sooner and cheaper here than you can at home.  Books are also good, but again do it on a request basis.  We have tons of books over here, but most of them are trash that no one would read anyway or they are all romances.  Your typical Army girl doesn't read romances (some do, but not most) and girls are about 1 of 9 people here.  So again, get a request list from your young Joes and Joeys over here and then do an Amazon order and have it shipped right to their APO address.

Speaking of Amazon, your guys and girls can set up an Amazon wishlist and make it visible to the public.  Then your support group can go right on there and buy what they want.


Other stuff.  I like pictures, real printed out pictures of family and friends.  Stuff to decorate my hooch a bit.  Send him some bits of home he might not think to ask for.  A video of his dog or something, who knows.  I am not a stuffed animal kinda guy, but my wife found a stuffed jack russel terrier that looks just about like mine...  He has been on 4 deployments now.  I keep leaving the little bastard at home and sooner or later he shows up in the mail again..:)  I love her, it's almost a game now.

Buying clothing...  The Army has a system now called ADO or KYLOC that allows you to order stuff each month at the Army's dime.  I have found it to be slow and often out of stock.  With that being said, I have been able to get plenty of socks, shirts and stuff through it.  So clothing might work and might not, probably wouldn't hurt to send the Joes some socks and stuff.  Be careful with sending them Under Armor and stuff like that.  That stuff melts in high heat and makes burns a lot worse.  I have a couple of them, but I wear them only around the FOB or what not.  Outside I wear either the cotton GI issue stuff or some of the XGO fire-resistant stuff.

Don't buy them anything from Oakley full price if you can help it.  Find someone with an Oakley USStandardIssue account and they can buy it for about half price and mail it to them.

Flashlights....meh.  I have given away about 4 flashlights already.  We got issued like 3 or 4 nice ones and I got more in the mail.  Rechargeable battery kits would be nice, as would Surefire batteries, I swear I can never find enough of those.

Don't send alcohol, this has been beaten to death as to why it's not a good idea.  I disagree with the ban on alcohol and porn myself, shit the Iraqis have both so that cultural respect shit doesn't fly with me, so do the other coalition guys (Brits etc).  But still, keep your Soldier out of trouble and don't send it is my advice.


HeartsandMinds
Link Posted: 4/18/2009 5:45:50 AM EDT
I sent a LOT of freeze pops to the folks I knew in country...They went over real well...  They are 3.50 a big box at wally world..  The larger of the flat rate boxes will hold 1.5 boxes of freeze pops..

I also sent a large handful of clothes pins to each of them, an organizer for the end of their rack (has pockets to store books, flashlights, crap like that).... Extension cord and triple taps... Small "hardware" type items that i figured would be in short supply..

No booze, etc..All that is pretty well covered..

Any magazine that I read, boating, sailing, American Rifleman, etc  All went into the box to fill spaces...  Empty space was a place to put something...  Wasn't unusual to have a flat rate weigh in at 30+ lbs...;)

Best to him!

73
Semper Fi
Ed
Link Posted: 4/18/2009 10:26:55 PM EDT
Thanks ALOT for all of the suggestions! Some of them like freezy-pops I would never have thought of. I guess this means they have a freezer in their hootch or access to one?

Before I send anything I'll wait a little bit so I know what he has acess to, and if there's a PX close by that keeps a good stock of stuff. Plus I imagine he'll need some time to get squared away!

Regarding sending stuff like socks, whats the best all around sock to get? What about colors.....best colors to get & which to avoid? And T-shirts.....what colors besides TAN is acceptable?

What about stuff for his boots like Dr.Schoal (sp.) padding?

As time goes by I'll get better with what to send and how much!  One other question....aside from personal items for him, should items destined for the squad or platoon have soldiers names on them or should I address them just to his unit?

Whats the average trasit time from the east coast to Iraq (if anyone knows)?

Thanks,

Crazy...in MD



PS:  Would it be a good idea to send home made cookies & brownies or such, or is that a waste & impractical?
Link Posted: 4/18/2009 10:38:33 PM EDT
dont forget the customs form and be sure everything is filled out and signed.Sent alot of boxes to my son over there.Sent alot of magazines and dvds.When he was done with them they were passed around to everyone.Got my moneys worth out those.
Link Posted: 4/19/2009 6:21:23 PM EDT
Can I request the custom forms with an order for flat rate boxes, or do they need to be picked up in person?

Also, do I need to take the packages w/paperwork  to the post office to send or can I do that through the USPS "clik 'n ship" program for your PC?

I've never done an international shipment before so I don't know if that program has that capability.



Thanks,

Crazy....in MD
Link Posted: 5/1/2009 4:11:56 PM EDT
Charging_handle,


I sent the info you requested tonight.


Thx,

CI
Link Posted: 5/1/2009 5:54:13 PM EDT
Best to wait and see what he requests. Each FOB pretty much has a PX now, and so have "minimalls" Hell some have Baskin and Robbins Ice cream.

The desire list has really changed from the time we first started.

as mentioned, Cigs/Chew is always a tradeable item.
Link Posted: 5/1/2009 7:36:54 PM EDT
He's supposed to be heading for FOB Falcon. I heard the FOB has a nice PX.
Link Posted: 5/1/2009 8:09:59 PM EDT
Originally Posted By mikepn:
dont forget the customs form and be sure everything is filled out and signed.Sent alot of boxes to my son over there.Sent alot of magazines and dvds.When he was done with them they were passed around to everyone.Got my moneys worth out those.


I was sending a lot of those boxes back in 2006 when my son was in Iraq. When I sent him something valuable,like a replacement GPS,I never mentioned it on the customs form-I didn't want it getting stolen on the way. And I didn't worry about sending pork stuff,either-he got his beloved Slim Jims and summer sausage. He was living with the Iraqi Army, so he was doing all his own cooking-my boxes were all food,with a large amount of Copenhagen thrown in-he hated the stuff available in the PX over there,and insisted on fresh,domestic Cope-I had to put each little tin in a sandwich bag before sending. I'm so glad his girlfriend has made him give up that nasty habit.
  i was sending DVDs at the start,but he told me to quit-they got the latest bootlegs of movies on the streets while they were still in the theater here.

Link Posted: 5/1/2009 8:38:06 PM EDT
Originally Posted By CrazyIrishman:
He's supposed to be heading for FOB Falcon. I heard the FOB has a nice PX.


Falcon is pretty big and has a PX and the usual fat boy food places ( BK, Pizza hut, subway)

Wait until he gets there, he can let you know what they don't have.

FOr instance, Stryker PX right now has NO mother day cards.

Link Posted: 5/1/2009 11:03:49 PM EDT
I read on a DoD site that FOB Falcon has an internet cafe but the phone system has issues. Is this still the case or has it improved?

Is there a time limit on internet & phone useage? If there's a limit, how do they work that? Can you "buy" blocks of time not unlike a prepaid calling card?

Regarding the food places at Falcon, my son like some of that stuff but he's usually pretty smart when it comes to eating healthy and not eating too much of the wrong stuff.


Thanks for the info!

CI
Link Posted: 5/1/2009 11:17:23 PM EDT
www.adoptaplatoon.com has tons of relevant info on what can and can't be shipped as well as rates and wishlists from individual camps and platoons.
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