USMC Boot Camp: Tips From the Homefront!

In honor of my husband starting Phase 3 of USMC Boot Camp, I wanted to share my “Boot Camp Stalking Techniques” (errr, resources)
I hope my personal experience encourages and inspires all of you. Whether you are just curious, or if you are researching this process because you will soon be experiencing it for yourself! However, I especially want to write this for those of you who have loved ones actually going through Boot Camp. We’re all in this together!

I was amazed that they actually allow you to see the training facility (I think typically they blur out Military Bases) Even if we can’t see them in person for 12 weeks, at least we can see the aerial view of where they are living. I mentioned that I was stalking my husband through Google Earth, and he drew me a map of where his quarters were in retrospect to the Parade Deck. He also referenced other places, like the Chow House (a place very dear to the recruits hearts, seeing that they live meal to meal)
He also drew me a map of the room he sleeps in with all of the other 80 something guys and where his particular rack was. He also included the bathroom set up (thank you dear, I really wanted to know that in particular 😉
It’s amazing to have something to help you visualize where your loved one is. I really recommend asking your recruit to sketch you out a little map.
It helps so much not only to be counting down the day (hours, minutes, seconds! Yep, I have a date countdown gadget on my computer for that!) But it is even better to know what challenges your recruit is facing everyday. I highlighted all the “big” tests indicated on the calendar and make a point to pray from him on those days!
(Apparently, the SD and PI ones are pretty much Identical)
It just takes the guessing out of your mind somewhat. Now I KNOW the tortures he is facing day to day! 😛
Also, I printed out a small version to send to send to him. He said he really appreciated having a copy of it.
Sometimes they post pictures of the recruits there. Yay! So needless to say, I’ve been stalking that page everyday. And it’s paid off!
A while ago, I noticed that they posted pictures of Swim Week. According to my “Schedule” (listed in the point above, Number 3) My husband had just completed that part of Boot Camp! I checked the Platoon Number and Company, and sure enough, it was his platoon!
I was super lucky that they took a group photo. They all look the same… but we zoomed in and scanned the crowd, hoping he was there somewhere. And he was! Yay!
Imagine my excitement! Yay! That’s my man!!! And if I do say so, he looks cute bald 😉
Especially if you are a spouse, for your own sanity, and to give your recruit something to look forward to everyday at mail call, write as much as possible. 

First off, as far as mail goes, a good rule to follow is “Do not send anything unless it was asked for by your recruit.”
 For his own sake, don’t do anything to make him stand out (follow the mail rules they send with their address- no contraband, no large packages, send letter in plain envelopes, no perfume, no doodling/kiss marks on the envelope, etc)
 I’m not a sports follower (I only follow it when my husband is with me… kinda have to be on top of it then) so I’ve asked a very close friend and fellow sports addict (I mean, enthusiast) to send me updates on all of that stuff. I print off any articles that would be interesting to him, and boy does he appreciate it! 

haven’t sent him any packages (food is a no-no) but I do send him
stamps, and pre-addressed envelopes in a larger envelope (still standard
size though, so it won’t cause any extra attention)
also (upon his request) sent him mole skin pads for his elbows, knees,
and heels. But they fit easily in a standard size envelope, so I
didn’t have to send a package.
If your recruit asks you to send him pictures, make sure they are appropriate. I really recommend printing them out a full page collage on regular printing paper. My husband said that he loves having them on one page. That way, they’re harder to lose, and easier to access when he has time to look at them.

I recommend seeing if the recruiter can give you your recruits temporary address ahead of time, so you can start sending mail right away instead of waiting to get your recruit’s address in the official letter. I didn’t get his address until 3 weeks into boot camp. And my husband was kinda worried because he didn’t heard from me until like 4 weeks into Boot Camp!


I send him lots of comics. Basically anything that makes me laugh. Sometimes I make use the comics as the front
of my cards, or other times, I just tuck them inside the letter pages.
Send lots so that they can pass them around and make other guys laugh too.

Here’s a link to a Pinterst Board devoted to USMC Comic Strips.
We also play Tick Tac Toe. It’s kinda slow, bt hey.  🙂
Because he doesn’t have much free time (like NONE) I decided not to include my questions in our letters. Instead, I made him a questioner. Quick and easy for him. That way he wouldn’t miss answering any of my questions. Here’s an excerpt:
All of the questions I was legitimately curious about, but I tried to make some of the answers silly to make him laugh.
It was a great way to get answers!

It’s so important to keep a positive attitude. Think about the wonderful things to come, and stay away from dwelling on stressful things you are going through (um, yes, stressful stuff happens!)
Surround yourself with supportive friends and family.The decision to become a Marine is something you should be so proud of your loved one for. After all, they have choosen to become one of the Few, the Proud, the Marines.

It gets easier after the first few weeks, but I am still counting down the days just as religiously! I can’t wait to be with my man again!

Ps) Here is my USMC Pinterest Board! 

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  1. Anonymous

    December 12th, 2013 at 9:01 am

    I love this! My husband was in boot camp right after we graduated highschool. I wish knew all that you did! I'm sure someone will makeg great use of this!

  2. Hannah

    December 12th, 2013 at 6:59 pm

    Thanks for your sweet comment! I know I researched so much before and during boot camp because I had so many questions and I really wanted to share all that I learned with other girlfriends and wife's who have the same questions I did! )

  3. Christin Hershman

    July 27th, 2014 at 2:12 am

    My 18 yr old son leaves for boot camp in less then 2 weeks. This is soooo helpful!! Thank you so so much!!

  4. mugsie031

    August 31st, 2014 at 1:31 am

    My boyfriend is currently moving on to 3rd phase at Parris Island but I have known about this site for over a month and it is so helpful! I love all of your advice and little tricks! I am in High School still so sometimes you can feel alone in this journey and reading everything that you had to say reminded me that i'm not. So i just wanted to say thank you for creating this because it helps out a lot of people!!

  5. Lindsay

    September 30th, 2014 at 1:48 am

    Thanks so much for this post. Really helpful. 🙂


  6. Anonymous

    January 15th, 2015 at 6:24 pm

    My boyfriend just left for Army Basic Training 2 days ago. I have also been stalking and googling every thing I can possibly find out. How did you get their training schedule? That is such a great idea because I am always wondering what he is doing. I went to the Ft. Benning site (I cant even remember how I found it anymore) and I cannot find out any info. I don't even know when his graduation from Basic is.


  7. Hannah @ We Lived Happily Ever After

    January 16th, 2015 at 6:49 pm

    I found it on a support website ( )

    I don't know anything about the Army's schedule, but just keep googling & check out different forum websites where you can get info from other girlfriends and parents of recruits. I know that sometimes they even post photos of Army Basic on fb and stuff. Hope that helps!

  8. Mitva Shah

    July 7th, 2015 at 4:58 pm

    Hey would you happen to have more questionnaires like those? My boyfriend is in boot camp, it is his only 2nd day and i am already missing so much. We have been dating for almost 2 years. This blog of yours has really helped me, I love it! It would be really helpful if you can post more questionnaires like those!
    Thanks 🙂

  9. Hannah @ We Lived Happily Ever After

    July 13th, 2015 at 3:29 am

    So glad it's been helpful! 🙂

    I don't have any additional questionnaires, sorry! But just think about things you would ask him over the phone, concerns, jokes to make him smile, etc. Type it up in a word document, print and send. 🙂

    Hang in there!

  10. Kip Cowher

    November 9th, 2015 at 2:09 pm

    My youngest of three ships to boot camp at PI January 4th. Thanks so much for the comics page !!


  11. Summer Barker

    October 13th, 2016 at 3:58 pm

    Crying right now about finding this wonderful blog, you're a saint for sharing all of this! My man has recently decided to join the marines and it is all happening so fast. I'm so proud of him but exactly like you said in another post, we do everything together so it will be weird for him not to be here. He will definitely take my heart with him when he goes! Thank you again for all of this, it has helped me more than you know!

  12. Hannah Hathaway

    October 26th, 2016 at 10:11 pm

    Thank you so much! You made my day. XO

  13. McKenzie Ott

    March 15th, 2017 at 2:08 pm

    I know this is an old post but my man is leaving in June and I'm trying to find anything and everything I can to find some comfort, our daughter is 2 months old and he is going to miss quite a bit but I plan on starting a blog too just to help keep me busy (if our daughter doesn't do that enough). Thank you so much for the post! I plan on following your blog going forward, so keep it up!

  14. Kiley

    March 1st, 2020 at 3:52 pm

    My brother is in boot camp but I don’t know if it’s the same link for the Paris island because he is in Great Lake but I really hope it is this helped me so much let’s see if I can last the next 7 weeks 🥺😥

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