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DEPLOYMENTS: Care Packages
This section updated Thursday, July 5, 2007 ~ 17:03 CST
Care Packages Section Overview | About Care Packages | Customs Forms | Shipping Methods
Insurance | Restrictions | Packing Tips | Contents of Care Packages | Our Care Package Project
DEPLOYMENTS: Care Packages: Suggested Contents

Download Print Version of Care Package Contents: Download 2-Page PDF File
Or scroll down to see our online list and suggestions. Also note the links at the top of this page for restrictions, tips, and more.

Putting a care package together for your Marine is another way to let them know that you are supporting them. Here are some general guidelines and suggestions we've gotten from the Marines themselves, their family, Vets from the Gulf War, and the USMC. Use the form at the bottom of this page to add your suggestions or ask specific questions.

Keep the items small: pocket-size, travel-size, sample-size are ideal. Remember your Marine has to pack this around, and if he/she is in a unit that may be mobilized, they're going to travel light.

The USMC encourages sending disposable cameras.
CLICK FOR CAMERA TIPS: some helpful tips regarding cameras and how to get them returned to you.

SEND SOCKS, SOCKS, and more SOCKS! If your Marine is on a base, you'll want to send green boot-cut socks. If your Marine is at an FOB (Forwarding Operating Base), you can send black or white socks--they'll use whatever they can get!


MarineParents.com, Inc. Care Package Project
For a list of needed items with photos, see our Care Package project. Click here to learn more.

3-4 weeks. Smaller boxes arrive more quickly. Large or heavy boxes can be delayed. Please see Packing Tips for more information.

Flea Collars: Do not wear flea collars designed for dogs and cats, even over boots, medical experts warn. The collars are designed to repel common house fleas and there is no evidence they work against sand flies. Meanwhile, the chemicals in the collars have not been tested for safety with humans, and can cause allergic reactions and sores that may become infected.
-- Sources: Stars and Stripes, U.S. Army, Centers for Disease Control

What to Send to Deployed Military
Keep in mind your Marine needs these items, but he/she has to carry this stuff. Keep it small. If it can fit in a pocket, that's perfect. Try to buy travel-size or sample size. In many locations, there is no PX. The sand and wind are intense in some overseas locations, so some of these things are specific to that need. All lists are items the Marines have specifically asked for January 2003 through March 2, 2005. The most often requested items: letters, cigarettes, batteries, socks, drink mixes, and reading material; in that order. I mailed 2 or 3 of everything. They will share; they take care of each other.

  • Baby Wipes for personal hygiene
    (Showers are more available in 2004 than they were in 2003, so the current need for babywipes is not nearly as huge.)
  • Toothpaste, toothbrushes
  • Shampoo
  • Deoderant
  • Soap, anti-bacterial soap
  • Waterless soap, liquid body wash
  • Hand Sanitizer
    (Note: hand sanitizer may not be allowed by some post offices per the alcohol content.)
  • Lotion
  • Shaving cream (Click here for information on shaving cream)
  • Disposable razors, electric razors, battery-operated razors
  • Toilet Paper
  • Kleenex (Travel size packets)
    (Plastic-wrapped package of ten tissues: they stay dry, make great packing material and they can use it for TP, which is in short supply in many areas!)
  • Sunblock, Aloe Vera
  • Throat Lozenges
  • Gum, Lifesavers, Mints
  • Eye Drops (to relieve irritation from blowing sand)
  • Blistex, Chapstick, Vaseline, Carmex
  • Aspirin, Motrin, Tylenol, Pain Relievers
  • Saline spray/drops for sensitive nasal passages
  • Q-tips
  • Feminine hygiene products for women Marines
  • Jock itch spray
  • Boot liners/insoles
  • Lotrimin AF for athletes foot
    (send tube of ointment or cream, NOT the spray kind)
  • 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.)
  • Moleskin
    (for pads on sore feet, you'll find it with Dr. Scholls type things at WalMart or drug stores)
  • Laundry soap
    (Small single-load packages, trial sizes, or 'tablets' that are easier to manage and store.)
  • Batteries (AA, AAA, C)
  • Photos from home
  • Cigarettes, chew
  • Newspaper clippings, comics from Sunday's paper, news from home
  • Books, Magazines
    (Be sure to read the Mailing Guide for what type of printed material is allowed to mailed.)
  • Astronomy charts/books (the sky is unbelievably clear at night)
  • Sunglasses
    (goggle-type sunglasses are requested very frequently)
  • Eyeglass wipes
  • Socks, Socks, Socks!
  • Underwear, socks, T-shirts
  • Green boot socks
    (try military surplus stores)
  • Tactical Duct tape: military green, tan, black, gray
  • Electrical tape
  • Flashlight with a red lens
  • 1- and 2-gallon ziplock plastic bags
    (I put all items from my care pkg in a ziploc...serves two purposes!)
  • Frisbee, Nerf Footballs, Hacky Sack
  • Deck of cards
  • Hand-held games

Pork and pork by-products are NOT allowed to be shipped to Middle East locations. That includes many 'Slim Jims' and other packaged meat products; read the label. Fruit and yeast are not allowed either.
(Click here for information on fruit)

Non-perishable foods only. Send small containers of items. Large packages won't stay fresh and are harder to ship. If you can stuff it in your pocket and it's not going to spoil or MELT, it's a good thing to send! Downplay the sugar. Items that are hydrated are heavier; i.e. ravioli versus ramen noodles. Some camps have methods to heat and hydrate, others do not.

  • Coffee, hot cocoa mix, coffee mixes, tea
  • Lemonade mix, Koolade mix, Tang mix, Gatorade mix (pre-sweetened)
  • Gum, Lifesavers, Mints
  • Nuts, sunflower seeds, peanuts, trail mix
  • Power bars, protein bars, nutritional bars
  • Beef jerky, beef summer sausage (non-perishable; labeled USDA Beef)
  • Small bags of snacks or individually wrapped snacks
  • Pop Tarts, cereal bars, "milk & cereal" bars, granola bars
  • Cookies, Homemade Cookies
  • Candy and candy bars (chocolate will melt)
  • Torengos and canned nacho cheese dip
  • Jalepeno velveeta and crackers

Please note that I am absolutely NOT endorsing any particular products or places to shop, but just for the sake of correctly identifying the items our sons and daughters are asking for, I'm calling it by the name we are most generally familiar with.


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