WASHINGTON ― Marine recruits at boot camp have no phones and rare access to email, but getting them a traditional letter in a stamped envelope is now easier.

The Marine Corps has forged a contract with a start-up technology firm that makes sending snail-mail letters to soon-to-be Marines as easy as clicking “send” on an email.

Sandboxx Family Communications, based in Virginia, operates an app that allows family members to send custom letters to recruits at basic training, deployed units or any military address around the world.

Founded by Marine Corps veterans Sam Meek and retired Maj. Gen. Ray “E-Tool” Smith, Sandboxx technology aims to maintain connections among service members and their families, and to ensure that each service member is supported throughout their military career.

“Recruits perform at higher levels in boot camp when they receive encouraging letters and photos from loved ones at home. With Sandboxx web and mobile applications, users can type a message from their phone, add a photo and hit send. Sandboxx will securely print the message and deliver it to the recruit or Marine, usually on the next business day,” Smith said in a company press release.

Since its launch in November 2014, the app has been used to send more than 1 million letters to recruits and service members around the world.

Sandboxx also aims to help recruiters attract new prospects using demographic data and interest targeting through social media. And for recruits preparing to ship out to boot camp, the app comes with weekly training advice and workouts.

While at training, Sandboxx will send weekly updates to friends and family explaining what recruits are doing during boot camp. The company also helps to simplify travel for military graduation, connecting users with military travel experts to book trips.

Sandboxx currently has more than 400,000 users.

Daniel Cebul is an editorial fellow and general assignments writer for Defense News, C4ISRNET, Fifth Domain and Federal Times.

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