This page is designated as a place you can read stories stories of people who have sent them to the Care Package Story Project and have kindly granted me permission to share them here. Below are a few of the many I have received – if you submitted a story and your story is not yet posted, please check back in a few days. I am working to get them all posted as soon as I can. I appreciate you sharing your stories!
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If you have memories of care packages you received when you were stationed away from home, or of a care package you sent to a service member – or even memories of care packages received by members of your family or others in your military unit – please share your stories with me at: odale@CarePackageStoryProject.us .
Please note: I do not include names in the stories I post – I include only rank, job, duty station and dates, when available.
If you would like for your story to be considered for posting on this page, please include your permission for me to publish it on this site when you send me your story.
I look forward to receiving your stories and your feedback!
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A month after he’d returned to Bosnia after R&R, he received a package from his wife with cookies wrapped in sliced bread (to keep them fresh) and some cassette tapes, along with a sealed baggie containing her positive pregnancy test, a pair of baby booties, and the book “What to Expect When You’re Expecting.” He was now expecting his first child!
Supply and Distribution
Camp Courtney, Japan
This GySgt received a drawing from his daughter of a banana split on a map- it was split between two countries. There were scoops of bananas and vanilla ice cream, a bit of chocolate ice cream with a swirl of whipped cream and peanuts on top, all sitting on the Japanese part of the map. The rest of the sundae sat on top of the US – the remaining part of the chocolate ice cream scoop, the whole strawberry scoop, with the hot fudge and pineapple toppings oozing down, the whipped cream, the cherries and peanuts, were all sitting atop the continental US. A split banana split.
BACN Liaison Officer
Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar
“When our son was born I sent him a hospital blanket our son was swaddled in, a hat he wore in the hospital, a hospital bracelet, Reese’s peanut butter cups, a letter, a picture book of our son’s first few days, and a pack of gum that looked like cigars. I decorated the box in blue construction paper and wrote ‘It’s a boy!’ on the box flaps.”
“My Mom’s not really a cook, so my packages from home were mostly things I needed and couldn’t easily get ahold of – toiletries and boxes of snacks and cereals -I loved getting cereal. It reminded me of getting ready for school as a kid. Anyway, this one guy in our unit- he got the best cake I ever had and he always shared it with us. His Mom baked different kinds of cake and wrapped the cakes in slices of Wonder Bread, tied real tight with ribbons. When it arrived, the bread had gone moldy, but it kept the cakes fresh and moist. Every 3-4 weeks she’d send a different kind of cake. I liked her gingerbread cake best. Smelled like holidays and rum eggnog.”
101st Avn. Flight Operations
Desert Storm saw a massive increase in the number of female troops integrated into the front lines. The military learned from this and compensated going forward but at the time the military was not prepared for situations unique to women. One of if not the best aviation clerks the 101st sent over found herself, like all other female soldiers, with an occasional physical problem and no military provided solution. We did not have cell phones, or any phones, or any means of communicating with home other than letters which took quite some time. I wrote a letter to my wife, who knew this young lady from Ft. Campbell, explaining her predicament. A few months later I got a huge package in the mail and all it contained was lots of jars of cashews (her snack of choice) and lots of packages of tampons. While I took a few good natured hits from my comrades, I made a good friend for life. To this day I still call her every year on her birthday.
This was the first combat tour where alcohol was not allowed because it would “offend” our host country. Around Thanksgiving of 1990 I received a very large package from my dad and VFW Post 3500 in Richmond Heights, MO. It contained cans of all the traditional Thanksgiving foods, turkey, ham, sweet potatoes, et. al. It also contained 12 large tubes of Quaker Oats. I figured my dad and the boys might have had a beer or two when they were putting it together. Later in the day it dawned on me what else came in 12 packs. They had opened up the containers, dumped out the oats, inserted 12 long neck bottles of Busch beer then refilled and sealed the containers. I’m still convinced they’d had a few themselves prior.
Da Nang, Vietnam
I wanted to share my perspective from service in the Marine Corps in Vietnam, 1965-66. At the time, supply logistics were just being established and we were short on everything. So much so that my first night in country I was assigned watch — there were not enough rifles to go around so I stood the watch with 2 grenades. We wore leather boots, in a jungle, before jungle boots came along. Except for soap, toiletries were the most difficult commodity to come by. As a result of the heat, heavy rains, and constant humidity, we all got terrible rashes (“jungle rot” we called them).
After a few months in country I ran across a old copy of “Time” magazine and read about Americans sending care packages to Army troops. At the time, most Americans were supportive of the war, and of the troops. I wrote a letter to the magazine saying how much we Marines would appreciate a care package, especially containing candy — and medicated powder which we couldn’t get. I received several dozen packages from folks across the country. I kept the first then gave the others to my buddies.
One package was wrapped especially attractively. I opened it. It was full of loose (unwrapped) candy — covered with medicated powder. A very sad day for a lonely grunt far from home. That was when I realized that not all Americans were supportive of servicemen.
That’s my care package story. I hope my story is unique, but I doubt it. The Vietnam war was different from our country’s other 20th century conflicts — troops who served were generally supported by most Americans. Not so with Vietnam. I guess that’s part of what my story is about, the losing of support for that conflict and the troops who served.
These days I’m overwhelmed and humbled by the broad support of our troops!
I served onboard USS Enterprise 2011-12. The care packages I received contained mainly books (I love to read) and oatmeal raisin cookies. Something in them allowed them to survive the month or so shipping process getting mail to a ship in the Persian Gulf. I wish I knew the secret to the cookies and cake in bread trick back then!
The main reason I am writing, though, is because of “Operation Turbo” (OT). OT is an ongoing care package program out of Maryland. You can check it out online.
Cadet Fourth Class
Air Force Academy, Colorado
1965-69, active duty through May 1974
My mother, during my cadet years, decided to start sending me a favorite treat from our Norwegian heritage: lefse, which is almost like a crepe with butter and sugar inside. She’d send a bunch of them in a three-pound coffee can. My roommates and I loved this treat, although we had to enjoy them quickly. They were so moist, and, coming from Minnesota, they didn’t last long before mold would set in. Another treat: During our basic training, we weren’t allowed to receive packages from home. So, instead, she sent a flat package of pre-sweetened Kool-Aid in her letters to me. After taps, my roomie and I would get out our canteens, fill them with water, and add the Kool-Aid. Heavenly! It’s hard to describe what a thrill it was to have that little bit of unauthorized “bootle,” as it was called by our trainers.
MORE STORIES ALWAYS ARRIVING –
PLEASE CHECK BACK IN A FEW DAYS!
VT Air Nat’l Guard
His cousin, also a Vermont veteran, sent him this package when he was stationed in Kuwait, 3 Tupperware sandwich containers – one filled with cookies, one filled with fudge, and one filled with American soil from Vermont.
“My wedding proposal arrived in a care package at Valentine’s Day:
It was several heart-shaped playing cards – the Queen of Hearts, Jack of Diamonds, and full house hand. He sent in a box of chocolates with the note: Will you, my Queen of Hearts, marry me, the Jack of Diamonds, and make my home a full house?”
Operation Earnest Will
USS Missouri, North Arabian Sea
“My all time favorite care package came from my brother. The ship store had run out of Copenhagen and all other smokeless tobacco products. Us dip addicts were reduced to pulling cigarettes apart and trying to flavor the tobacco with a sundry of available compounds. without success. My brother first mailed me a sleeve of Copenhagen just wrapped in paper, which did not make it thought the delivery chain. Way too obvious what it was and some mail clerk liberated it. Being the compassionate and persistent big brother that he was, he camouflaged the next shipment in a box full of paperback books, which arrived in tact.”
Augsburg, West Germany
“As my first Christmas in Germany approached, I was warned that “new guys” always worked the midnight hours on holidays. Staying awake meant drinking coffee. So I wrote home asking for an immediate supply of Instant Coffee. Received four cans of fancy, General Foods, International Coffees just in time for Christmas! Shared with my shift, of course. Also in the box were cassette tapes of my home town radio station, WALM, Marshall, MI, with news of local people and local businesses. And a Marshall newspaper, too. Best item was a paperback Webster’s Dictionary, along with a note reminding me to finish college after the Army. I still have the dictionary! And it is within arm’s reach as I write this. ”
In a gorgeously-decorated box of expensive truffles, her family replaced one of the truffles with a smooth, caramel-colored stone from the family farm in Missouri for her to carry around in her pocket.
First Division Combat Engineers
In the year of 1966 after arriving here in June of 1965, we were getting very tired of getting eggs and spam almost every day for breakfast and with my birthday coming up in March, it was time to write home for a care package. Sure enough it arrived pretty close to my B day which was on March 9th. the box was a little battered but all was there. Upon opening it there was a birthday cake and a box of frosting, and one present that held six cans of spam from my parents.
And to this day I still eat spam eggs for breakfast.
Back in the 60’s we had to use the P-38 can opener to open those cans of spam.The reason the Army called it the P-38 is because it took 38 cuts around a C-ration can to open.
After 1965-66, stationed near Bien Hoa.
Hospitalman 2nd Class
1st Marines and 5th Marines
Dai Loc Province, Vietnam
My Care packages usually arrived every 3 months or so. Some from my Mom and others from my girlfriend. These were never hoarded, but openly shared with my Marines. My girlfriend’s packages usually had the mushy stuff (got a lot of teasing) mixed in with snacks, cigarettes (Marlboros) and pictures of her activities. My Mom always sent me a bottle of Tabasco, sausages, cookies, newspaper clippings of the craziness at college campuses and notes from my aunts, uncles and cousins; always packed in popcorn. A lot of times the sausages had started turning green or the cookies were smashed to smithereens, but the popcorn was always edible (stale or not). My Mom’s packages were always a hit with my Marines. We would all sit around and laugh, eat and dream of going back home.
To get to a wonderful story (with photos and all!) called:
The Great Rum Ball and Brownie Conspiracy:
or How My Parents and Fiancee Avoided Federal Prison, please click on this PDF link It’s a terrific story!
Gunner on a LST
I was serving in Viet Nam in 1971as a Navy Gunner on a LST in support of Marine Amphibious operations. My Grandmother decided to send me a pizza for my birthday. She consulted her Doctor who informed her that a cheese pizza would be ok as if it got a little mold on it, it wouldn’t be a problem. She baked it and sent it on July 1st, hoping it would get to me by July 28 which was my 21st birthday. Needless to say, it finally arrived in the middle of September! It looked like a 12 inch disc of new sod! Completely green! We tore off hunks and threw them overboard to the waiting seagulls. They would pick up a chunk, fly about 50 feet and drop it like a hot rock! The seagulls wanted nothing to do with it! I don’t like lying but I wrote her a thank you letter and told her that it was the best birthday present I had ever received.
13th Combat Engineers supporting the 32nd Infantry Regt. of the 7th Inf. Div. Korea
I have reviewed with great interest your work on “Care Packages” and that brought back many happy memories from my tour in Korea in 1952. I regularly got packages from my family, the usual, cookies, candy, etc. but what was the most important gift I received was a pair of Hand Warmers which were the envy of my buddies (it reached 20 degrees below zero in the winter). We lived for word from home, in those days there was a waiting period of several weeks for both packages and mail and our morale was strengthened greatly by the packages.
Mom mailed her chocolate chip cookies, packed in popcorn for protection, and it was often hard to tell which was more popular. She also sent large bags of pistachio nuts, which were often consumed in one sitting. My aunt mailed Gouda cheese and crackers, another great war zone snack!
Platoon Leader, I Corps
To this day, almost 50 years later, I cannot eat hard sausages – pepperoni, salami, etc. It seems that word got out stateside that these were perfect items to send in care packages because of the shelf life and resistance to heat damage, so every care package that came to me or anyone I knew included some kind of sausage. We all got so tired of them that we couldn’t even give them away.
My mother sent me one of my favorite Christmas cakes. This was a fruit cake that she wrapped in a rum-soaked towel. She mailed it around the first of December but due to several in-country deployments it didn’t reach me until February. Needless to say, by that time it wasn’t fit to eat. I teased her by telling her that we had to throw away the cake but we enjoyed eating the towel.