Please note:

This website was set up to get parcels to Australian Soldiers/Sailors/Airmen/Airwomen deployed overseas.

You are welcome to cut and paste information and use it to support sending parcels to our service members serving overseas, however, when you do cut and paste please link back to Ocean Sky & Khaki to acknowledge OSK, and so that people can find the blog themselves.

If there are questions one of us will answer if you comment on a post at the blog.


Saturday, September 5, 2009

7SEP09 What to send/What not to send?

Mandie, a veteran care package sender has been looking for where to send packages to Aussies for a long time. I received an email from Mandie who has compiled a list of what to send and what not to send from her experience sending care packages to Marines and to someone she knew in Timor.

We'll start with this list and there'll be a link to this post on the side bar (see "Links to info posts in this blog"). It will have a date when it is updated so that when things are added we'll just change the date.

Suggestions for care package contents for service troops in combat zones

Send a letter with an email address and even a self addressed envelope so the troops can reply.

Ask about their living conditions and if they have fridge or microwave available to them then it is easier to know which food items to send, but do not worry if they do not use something troops have been giving it to the chaplain or another unit to pass out to others that might need it.

NO HOMEMADE Food items unless you know the soldier as they get thrown away.
If sending liquid or food products, place them in a snap lock bag 1st in case of leakage
2 minutes noodles
Biscuits (no nut or choc)
Chewing gum (not sugar coated gum but stick gum for hot climates)
Coffee (individual sachets)
Cup of noodles
Cuppa soup
Disposable forks/spoons
Dried Fruit
Drinking choc (individual sachets)
Easy Mac
Individual Cereal boxes
Individual pull ring Tuna or sachets
Long life milk (small packs)
Microwave popcorn
Microwave rice (reject shop $2)
Oatmeal (individual sachets)
Pepper (individual sachets)
Powdered energy drinks
Salt (individual sachets)
Sauces & Condiments like mustard etc (individual sachets are good, ask Macca’s if you can have some and why...)
Spices - to go with lamb/goat for example, rosemary, garlic, thyme, Greek spices
Sugar (individual sachets)
Trail Mix
Twisties (can also be used as packing in spaces in the box)
Wasabi peas

Aftershave (they complain they smell)
Air Fresher (non aerosol sprays & the cardboard card ones)
Baby wipes (bulk & travel size)
Cotton buds
Deodorant (non aerosol)
Foot powder
Hair Conditioner
Hair Shampoo
Inner soles
Lip Balm (chap sticks)
Razors (NOT the real cheap ones like Bic! Personally I use Schick and I’d only send those, we don’t want them cutting slashing themselves to shreds!)
Shaving cream (non aerosol)
Soap (normal & travel size)
Socks (black & white)
Tissues (medium & travel size)
Toilet paper (one roll in a box)
Toothbrushes (sometimes)
If female troops then add the following
Female hygiene products
Gel or hair spray (non aerosol)
Hair ties
Hairbrush (only send 1)

Misc & entertainment
Batteries (as in 1st box if they need some)
Blank Cards (for troops to sent home)
Board games
Board games (some marines have a wonderful photo of them playing twister)
Book (try not to sent romance novels)
Cheap DVDs Please write on cover & disc in permanent marker “Aussie troops property” to avoid theft
Drawing Paper
Footballs/Basketballs (and a pump)
Magazines (nothing rude)
Music CDs Please write on cover & disc in permanent marker “Aussie troops property” to avoid theft
Other sporting goods
Playing cards
Poker chips
Sport sections of newspapers
Tennis balls (If you have tennis courts nearby you can buy second hand balls cheap – I got some from the University tennis courts $1 each, Slazenger and other brands)
Writing Paper

NO Alcohol

What not to send:

Aside from and in addition to any items prohibited by Australia Post the following are prohibited to be sent to AFPO13 Operation Slipper:

Clothing other than socks
Magazines with naked women

If anyone has any more items to add please enter them in comments and they will be added to the compilation above. We will endeavour to find other items in the blog and add them, too.

Thanks again, Mandie!


Esther said...

Another thing a recently returned soldier said they miss overseas is newspapers, even old ones. I realize they are a bit bulky to send, but it's worth thinking about. My own brothers always want to know the sports news when they are travelling out of Australia, so maybe even sending the sports section or something might be good.

Everything else this soldier mentioned is in your list, but he did say specifically that chapsticks are a hit.

Pedro the Ignorant said...

Good list. Covers just about everything my mob in the 'Ghan have asked for.
Please note the point about magazines. Sports, motoring, etc are OK, but pr0n will result in the whole parcel being ratted at the border and things being removed. Big problem.
One other additional item, go to the local $2 shop and fill spaces with Aussie flag stickers, pins, small flags, kangaroo pins, transfers, those crappy little furry koala clips that you would be embarrassed to be seen with, anything kitschy, small lightweight that can be traded to furrin troops for their crap, and/or given away to kids.

Food, lollies, twisties, potato chips etc (aka) "jack rations" are especially welcome.

The diggers are not going to get fat and lazy given the job they are doing and the conditions they work in, so don't fuss about calorie counts.

Thanks to all who have sent off parcels. I know they are appreciated by the diggers, but most of all it is knowing that the 'civvies' back home in Oz know and care about them.

Keep up the good work.

bh said...

I've been sending a packet of salted peanuts with each parcel ... but having noted the "no nut biccies" in the list, am now wondering if these are a no-no????

Nilk said...

Speaking strictly for myself, BH, I suspect that the restrictions on nut bikkies and the like would be more of a cya exercise to counter peanut allergies.

Those tend to be rather nasty.

In any case, those receiving packages tend to share the contents, and if there had been adverse reactions then you'd probably have heard about it.

And remember, this is my opinion only. :)

kae said...

If they're big enough and ugly enough to be serving their country overseas I'd assume they're capable of reading labels.

I also doubt that anyone with a severe allergy to something as simple as peanuts would be allowed in the services.

Mandie said...

Kae, it has more to do with if they are sharing drinks or something if someone has eaten nuts and the person with the allergy does not know they could be problems, I just leave them off incase, the case as slim but I am over cautious with some things. love the address for Timor too

Louise said...

I have read on a Defence Force site that parcels addressed to 'An Australian Soldier' will not be delivered.

kae said...

Hi Louise
If you have read on a Defence Force site that these parcels won't be delivered you need to provide a link to where this information is posted so that we can get to the bottom of what is going on, and figure out a way around it....

I would imagine that members of the miliary would be screened for any food allergies as that condition would preclude them from service. Think about the logistics of catering for someone with an allergy... not possible, too hard.

kae said...

Just another thing about chewing gum.
I spent a couple of weeks in Darwin years ago in March/April. I used to chew gum then and discovered that the sugar coated gum like juicy fruit and PK melted inside and wasn't chewy.
I'll amend the post with this, but stick gum is the best.

Anonymous said...


A copy of an email sent from the ADF Public Affairs and the reply form the President of the 4 RAR Association - have excluded email addresses and phone numbers but if you would like them for verification let me know.

With regard to the e-mails circulating, asking people to send care packages to Afghanistan I can provide you with the following information:
• Thank you for your consideration and support for ADF members serving overseas over the Christmas period, but for a number of logistic management and security reasons, we would prefer that you do not encourage your readers to send “care packages” to deployment service men and women.
• Mail that is sent via Defence postal arrangements is restricted to official military and personal mail only, and must not be used for any other material.
• Defence postal services utilise the same air transport resources used for the movement of vital stores and equipment in support of ADF operations. The movement of large volumes of mail have the potential to affect the transportation of important stores and equipment needed for the safety, security and continued operational success of our people.
• Humanitarian Aid, which attracts normal international rates of postage, is not authorised to be sent through the Defence Postal Service. There is no entitlement, or requirement for Humanitarian Aid to be sent to Australian Service personnel

kind regards,
Ben Wickham
Public Affairs Officer
Public Affairs Operations Centre
Department of Defence

Anonymous said...

From: Alan Price
Sent: Tuesday, November 24, 2009 3:28 PM
Subject: Care packages

Dear Mr Wickham,
Reference: Your email shown below my reply. (In this case email number 2)

With the greatest respect, your preferences or the preferences of the Department of Defence, Public Affairs Operations Office really do not matter in this instance. What matters is the welfare and morale of our Aussie Diggers serving overseas in conditions that you or I can only imagine. Have you ever served overseas during Christmas, New Year, Australia day, April Fools Day, your own birthday, your family birthdays and anniversaries and not being able to share them with your families. Have you ever seen the looks on the faces of the Diggers when they receive a parcel from home? Have you ever experienced the joy of opening a parcel from someone not known to you but who has taken the time and effort to show that they care about you and respect you for the terrific task that you are doing on behalf of the Australian people and the Australian Government?

I can only assume from the cold heartedness of your reply that you have not!

Defence postal arrangements are not merely for official mail but have the nominated job and the responsibilty of ensuring that all mail addressed to all soldiers either by name or not, is delivered.

The first essence of mail is to receive news from home so that what you are doing on operations makes sense. The second essence of mail is to ensure that the famllies of soldiers are doing OK under extreme circumstances. The third essence of mail is maintain the morale of soldiers by the receiving and sending of mail. The fourth essence of mail is to ensure that soldiers who do not normally receive mail, do.

Have you forgotten the lessons of Vietnam and the punch a postie campaign and the soldiers who perhaps did not perform as well as expected simply because they did not receive mail and they felt as if they did not belong. Have you considered the experience of the platoon sergeant and section 2ICs whose duty it is to hand out the mail and by their observance of who and who was not receiving mail, were able to identify those that might develop morale problems. Your argument is scary at the least.

The movement of large volumes of mail must be included in the planning, movement and delivery of logistic support. Mail must be considered as logistical stores vital to the war effort and should be the first priority in serving the soldier and just as important as beans and bullets. The normal priority resupply system in the field includes in one package, beans, bullets and mail. If it doesn't then the ADF is in big trouble. If it is considered that mail will adversly affect the stores, security and continued success of our people (I am sure that you meant to say"warriors" here) then consider this. Consider the warrior that does not get mail, that is forgotten at Christmas when all around him are opening up parcels from family and he has to read the letters received from the families of other soldiers to make him feel wanted and appreciated. He will not look after his stores, he will not attend to security and he will not care about success, why should he? He has been deserted by those who swore to look after him, his superiors!

Anonymous said...

(part 2)

Mail is not humanitarian aid, this is called respecting, thanking and appreciating the warrior, male or female, in whatever service or corps, in whatever rank and in whatever job, for his service to his country and to the people of Australia by ensuring that he is able to receive mail and to send mail and to ensure that he can, by receiving and sending mail ensure that he can gain a sense of normality about his life so far away from home.

My request on behalf of all our members and families is that you stand up, walk over to mirror, forgive yourself for this most inappropriate decision and email and then kick down the door of your immediate superior, any General will do, and demand a different reply; one that applies logic, compassion, respect and adulation for our warriors serving overseas and then ensure through your department that if necessay, more aircraft, ships or carrier pigeons are allocated to delivering of the mail and the intended care packages to our warriors with the utmost speed and consideration.

Yours sincerley but dissappointedly,

Alan Price

(Alan Price)
4RAR Assoc, Qld
(Tas, NT, Intl)

Secretary, Don Zerner

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Anonymous said...

Hello all,

I was hoping to send a care package to soldiers in Afganistan, but I'm a bit murky on something. I wanted to send drinking chocolate along with small containters of long life milk, my question is: in that sort of a climate wouldnt the milk go bad en route or something?

kae said...

Hi Anonymous
Long life milk is fine, just remember that 1L weighs a little over 1KG.
The drinking chocolate will go down well, it's coming into winter over there!

kae said...

PS, Anonymous
You can get the smaller 200ml (I think) longlife milk packs, but careful of the weight.
I usually just send the choc/coffee/tea and sugar sachets, hoping they can score milk! If I do send milk it's the jigger packs, but sometimes I send the larger ones.

Unknown said...

It says no clothing other than socks. I was hoping to add so e undies to my parcel, is that ok? And what about headache tablets containing ibuprofen?

kae said...

Hi Danelle
No drugs are required, they can get headache tablets from medical. Undies are a personal thing and I wouldn't send them. There's a reason for no clothing, it's to do with fire and safety.