Care Packages for Steve

I wrote this prior to receiving new information but I think it is either still relevant or will be in the not to distant future.

  • Steve told me he had not received any email and didn't expect to receive any so don't send it.  Within a day or so of that conversation, the paper had an article on front line troops receiving mail.  So I think mail will get through... just not on a regular basis.

  • The Pentagon has asked that for the time being only family members send mail to the troops in Iraq.

  • We know that at best, packages were taking 3 1/2 to 4 weeks to arrive whereas letters were maybe a couple of weeks.

  • My recommendation: Send letters or small envelopes with  goodies in it.  Make it very light so we do not burden the mail delivery and even more important, so that it is not a burden for him to carry.

That all being said, here's the original information I came up with:

I would like to thank everyone for their tremendous support and concern for Steve and your moral support for Kim, Julie and myself. We all appreciate it very, very much.
Here are some ideas for care packages for Steve. This information is culled from our own experience, the web site Marine Moms (, requests by Steve and some suggestions that came via Liz.

First off, Steveís address has changed. The old address still gets to him, but when they return, any letters and packages will be routed through Pendelton before being shipped back to Camp Lejuene.

Lcpl Morford
2d CEB H & S Co. / DETC
Unit 76665
FPO AP 09509-6665

To see Restrictions for Mailing/Shipping to Deployed Marines check out

  • Packages should be no larger than a shoebox and weigh no more than 5 pounds.
  • Don't forget that anything over 16oz requires a customs declaration.
  • The Marines love ziplock type bags because that keeps sand from getting into their stuff. If you're shipping a liquid (shampoo, eye drops), or items that are likely to melt or drip (Chapstick, deodorants, chocolate) be sure to pop it into a tightly sealed plastic bag first. That will help keep the rest of the items from getting gooey or ruined, just in case.
  • Use those little plastic-wrapped packages of ten tissues for packing material; it helps to cushion other items in the package, the tissues are dry even after the Marine has packed them around in their pocket for a couple days, and they can use it for toilet paper, which is apparently in short supply in many places!
  • Use those worthless, plastic grocery sacks for packing material; they're plentiful here, and useful over there!
  • Pack homemade cookies with a slice of bread to keep them fresher. Air-popped popcorn as a packaging material helps keep cookies from breaking.
  • Nothing too heavy as he has to carry or throw away (or eat!) everything you send. If it fits in a pocket that would be perfect.
  • Any kind of CD or movie DVD. He has a DVD viewer that he can watch movies on, play music CDs, such as Good Charlotte and Gold Finger and, surprisingly, Frank Sinatra.
  • Baby wipes, gum, lifesaver types of candy (Altoids types), magazines, newspaper articles especially about Marines, ( they think everybody has forgotten about them), message cards, photos, tactical duct tape (green, tan or black) frisbees, deck of cards, hand held games, books (he likes everything), little things of meals they can pop open and chow down (like ravioli cuz everything they eat is dry), cookies and brownies. Since they usually share, the packages like individual cookies are the best, like Oreos. Juice drinks, lemonade mix, Pop Tarts, cereal bars (Cinnamon Toast Crunchies is one of his fav cerals), milk and cereal bars, Torengos and canned cheese dip, and one of their favorites.. jalapeno Velveeta and crackers, or small bags of tortilla chips and bean dip. They share everythingÖ well, we hope heís sharing anyway!

Things to keep in mind:

  • It takes a long time to get the package so don't send anything that can go bad. We think itís taking 3 to 4 weeks for packages to get through.
  • There are some things that are not allowed to be shipped to the Middle East.
  • Pork products like Slim Jims are not allowed.
  • Nothing that could be considered pornographic.
  • Another strategy to consider is to use SMALL padded envelopes to put what I consider 'critical', eyedrops, chapstick, or a candy bar.

Most of all, he just wants to hear from everyone. Letters and cards from home are the best. He really misses home so he would probably like to hear about the everyday stuff going on. They like postcards too. In my letters to Steve, I include jokes, comics and pictures in my letters. I use a digital camera to take a picture of me, the cars, our family, the Scouts, the mountains or whatever I think might amuse him. I go to comics web sites and include those that are funny. My letters are almost newsletters.

Lizís list specifically says no chocolate and no home made items. I have never seen that restriction. In fact, we know that Brendanís candy bar made it to Steve and he loved it. I think the request for no homemade items has to do with when items are collected from people who donít know the recipient. A suggestion from a friend of mine was to vacuum pack the chocolate chip cookies. If they melt, they melt in place! Heís sent him two batches like that. Canít wait to hear the report back from Steve.


The following is from Marine Moms (

In many locations, there is no PX. The sand and wind are intense in some locations, so some of these things are specific to that need. This "Personal Care" list is compiled from what the Marines have specifically asked for. The "Food" list represents suggestions from parents and an occasional suggestion from a Marine, but at this time, the personal care items appear to be taking priority for the Marines. In most locations, the Marines are getting a hot meal every other day. Some of the Marines are reporting horrible food and they want FOOD! Lots of requests for food.
Because of the packages needing to be addressed to a specific Marine, I know Steve will share with other Marines if he gets an abundance.
  • Baby Wipes (they are getting a shower only once or twice a week.)
  • Kleenex
  • Toothpaste, toothbrushes
  • Shaving cream, razors, razor blades (there are reports of the post office removing shaving cream per the aerosol.)
  • Jock itch spray
  • Sunglasses (goggle-type sunglasses are requested very frequently)
  • Throat Lozenges, Gum, Lifesavers, Mints
  • Eye Drops (like Visine, to relieve irritation from blowing sand)
  • Moleskin (ask your local Boy Scout!)
  • Blistex, Chapstick, Vaseline
  • Shampoo
  • Deodorant
  • Hand sanitizer, waterless soap, liquid body wash
  • Foot Powder (there are some that have ingredients to fight athletes foot), travel size Baby Powder, Shower-to-Shower Powder (NOTE: Be sure the any powder is in it's sealed, original container. Put it in a ziploc bag as well.)
  • Aspirin, Motrin, Tylenol, Pain Relievers
  • Saline spray/drops for sensitive nasal passages
  • Q-tips


Other Suggestions

  • Small cassette player with a message on one tape, and couple of blank tapes
    (Tip: Uninstall the batteries before shipping; ship new batteries that are still packaged in the original manufacturer packaging.)
  • Very small, lightly padded envelopes with postage attached to mail back a small cassette tape (NOTE: Free mail to the U.S. is limited to letters only; all other items require postage.)
  • Eyeglass wipes
  • Sunblock, Aloe Vera
  • Lotion
  • Pre-addressed labels and/or envelopes
  • Envelopes, paper, pens
  • Small pads of paper
  • Notebooks (a size they can keep in a pocket)
  • Books, Magazines
  • Postage stamps if they want to mail items larger than an envelope & letter
  • Disposable Cameras
  • Photos from home
  • Batteries (AA, AAA, C)
  • Newspaper clippings, magazines, comics from Sunday's paper
  • Underwear and socks
  • Green boot socks (specifically. try military surplus stores)
  • Tactical Duct tape: military green, tan, black, or gray if you can't find those
  • Frisbee
  • Hacky Sack
  • Decks of cards
  • Hand-held games
  • Laundry soap
  • Electrical Tape
  • 2-gallon ziplock plastic bags


Suggestions from Gulf War Vets:

  • Ravioli and little styrofoam cups of meals they can pop open and chow down
  • Civilian sunscreen (military issue sunscreen is like glue and the sand sticks to it)



  • Pork and pork by-products are NOT allowed to be shipped to Middle East locations. That includes 'Slim Jims' and many packaged meat products.
  • Fruit and yeast are not allowed either.
Food suggestions are so's advisable to send small containers of items. Large packages can't stay fresh and are harder to ship. I sent boxes of individually wrapped items, like a box of 12 packages of 6 cookies in each pack, 12 packages of 6 cracker sandwiches in each pack, etc. Easy to share, or easy to stuff into pockets and go. If you can stuff it in your pocket and it's not going to spoil, it's a good thing to send!


  • Hot cocoa mix, coffee, (juice mix as it gets warmer, April on)
  • Lemonade mix, Gatorade mix
  • Beef jerky (The package must be labeled Grade A USDA Beef; also, no pork is allowed)
  • Small bags of snacks or individual wrapped snacks
  • Pop Tarts, cereal bars, "milk & cereal" bars, granola bars
  • Candy and candy bars
  • Torengos and canned nacho cheese dip
  • Jalapeno velveeta and crackers
  • Peanut butter (I found little squeeze tubes...very cool)
  • Cookies, Homemade Cookies
  • Munchies (non-specific)

Marine Corps Articles

I am an American, fighting in the forces which guard my country and our way of life. I am prepared to give my life in their defense.

I will never surrender of my own free will. If in command, I will never surrender the members of my command while they still have the means to resist.

If I am captured I will continue to resist by all means available. I will make every effort to escape and to aid others to escape. I will accept neither parole nor special favors from the enemy.

If I become a prisoner of war, I will keep faith with my fellow prisoners. I will give no information nor take part in any action which might be harmful to my comrades. If I am senior, I will take command. If not, I will obey lawful orders of those appointed over me and will back them in every way.

When questioned, should I become a prisoner of war, I am required to give name, rank, service number, and date of birth. I will evade answering further questions to the utmost of my ability. I will make no oral or written statements disloyal to my country or its allies or harmful to their cause.

I will never forget that I am an American, fighting for freedom, responsible for my actions, and dedicated to the principles which made my country free. I will trust in my God and in the United States of America.