Though the United States formally completed its withdrawal from the Iraq War in 2011, the Defense Manpower Data Center reports that, as of late 2017, nearly 9,000 American troops were stationed in Iraq.
While a handful of charitable organizations will help keep those servicemen and servicewomen company, you’ve got two front-running options if you’re looking for penpals of the romantic variety: MilitaryCupid and Forces Penpals. Like Pat Benatar said, sometimes, love really is a battlefield.
From the people behind ChristianCupid, GayCupid and over 30 other niche dating sites comes MilitaryCupid, a free-to-join military singles site with more than 600,000 military personnel and civilian users.
To start searching for your single soldier, log in to MilitaryCupid using your Facebook account, or join with your name, gender, age and email address. Once logged in, you can search for military personnel based on their department, gender, age, location, interests and lifestyle preferences.
One caveat, though: While MilitaryCupid will show you the results of your search for free, you’ll have to pay a membership fee to actually chat with your new penpal online. Though membership options and payment plans vary, you’re looking at average costs of about $30 per month if you choose a month-to-month plan.
If you prefer to do your penpal-ing on the go, MilitaryCupid offers a free app for Android devices.
Unlike MilitaryCupid, Forces Penpals isn’t limited strictly to singles and budding romances. Since 2002, this site has served both U.K. and U.S. soldiers. What began with old-school “snail mail” letter writing eventually transitioned into the military-oriented social networking site that it is today – a massive web of more than 253,000 registered users that has resulted in at least four marriages.
As long as you’re 18 years of age or more, joining and using Forces Penpals is completely free. The site works a lot like Facebook, and, in fact, you can use your existing Facebook profile to register (or join using your email address and basic info). Once you’ve got an account set up, you can browse for soldiers by marital status, age, location and other parameters. You can communicate via a live online chatroom, forum, instant messaging or by good old-fashioned letter writing.
Your options for military penpals in Iraq aren’t limited to the romantic variety. Numerous nonprofit organizations connect civilians and soldiers via the power of the written word.
Head over to the sign-up pages at Adopt a U.S. Soldier or Soldiers’ Angels to get writing (or sending care packages). As a volunteer penpal for these organizations, your soldier may be single, married, divorced or swinging – romance isn’t the goal, but you can still made a much-needed positive impact in the life of a serviceperson just by picking up a pen.