Care Packages going to Iraq or Afghanistan... what should go in them?

Another thread got me thinking the veterans on the board may have some good ideas of what should go in the boxes my coworkers and I send to troops in the field every month. The soldiers requested some items, which we always include, but we like to vary it a bit. Items should ideally fit in a pocket and won't melt. Some of the items are for distraction during down times, some are not required but nice to have, all are to help them not spend their own money. Ideas from folks that have been there, or who have had service members tell them what they had wished for, are most welcome.

Some of the things often sent:

hand sanitizer
hand lotion
baby wipes
shaving supplies
small puzzle books
Tampons only for female vets or do they have another use?
Tampons make great wound pluggers for GSWs.

I'd add cigarettes/chew (even if they don't use they can barter with it)
Sunflower seeds
A decent pair of sunglasses
Friction Tape or Hockey Tape
Headlamp or other Keychain Flashlight (try to get one that is colored if possible)
Hair trimmers
Local Newspaper
Sharpening Stone
Flashdrive with songs, pictures and/or porn
cd or dvd of famiy. I spent a lot of time deployed, actually wish i still was, and the thing i really missed was family voices.
My wife made a collage of pictures for a friend overseas...she has two kids staying at her parents' place while she is deployed. She put pictures of her and her kids in it...I get all choked up just thinking how she will react when she gets it.

FYI I, literally, just sent out a package to a friend overseas...

Tapateo Hotsauce
Hand Sanitizer
Baby Wipes
Cigarettes (Marlboro Reds)
Chew (Coppenhagen Pouches)
Chocolate (a huge chocolate hershey's bar and a lot of little ones)
Family Collage Book
A handwritten letter
Pepto (chewable form)
Excedrine (the military's answer to all problems is to issue Ibuprofen)
Crystal Light Tea packets
Chewing Gum
Eye Drops
Several juice packs of Cappri Suns
Toothbrush (x2)
Small bottles of Thoothpaste (x3)
Deodorant Stick

Other things I wanted to put in (but wouldn't fit, weren't in the budget or we'll send next package)
Sharpening stone
Ear Plugs
Music CDs


Most of things I sent to her were things that I wanted overseas...things you cannot get are VARIETY. Most of the time you get the same thing, over and over. Hot sauce and juice packets mix things up a bit. Hopefully we got her to smile with all the above...more to follow.


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