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DOD suggests special holiday mail dates

by 1st Lt. Tawny M. Dotson
U.S. Central Command Public Affairs

WASHINGTON -- The Department of Defense announced Oct. 31 the recommended mailing dates to ensure that holiday cards and packages for service members arrive overseas in time for the holiday season.

"To ensure delivery to military APO/FPO addresses overseas and to international addresses, we suggest mail be sent by the recommended dates provided by the U.S. Postal Service," said Mark DeDomenic, the assistant deputy director and chief of operations for the Military Postal Service Agency. "Beat the last-minute rush by bringing your mail to your post office by these suggested dates."

* Parcel post: Nov. 12

* Space-available mail: Nov. 26

* Parcel airlift mail: Dec. 3

* Priority and first-class letters/cards: Dec. 10 (Dec. 5 for APO 093)

* Express mail military service: Dec. 19 (Not applicable for APO 093)

The Defense Department requests people who send mail to use the service member's full name, with or without rank or rating; unit and APO/FPO, Air/Army Post Office or Fleet Post Office; address with the nine-digit ZIP code, if one is assigned; and a return address. For packages, mailers are asked to print on one side only with the recipient's address in the lower right portion.

Packages must not be mailed in boxes that have markings related to any type of hazardous material, such as bleach, alcohol or cleaning fluids. Parcels found by the U.S. Postal Service with such markings or labels on the outside of the box will not be processed. Instead, they will be handled as non-mailable matter - regardless of the contents or what is listed on the U.S. Customs form.

While there are specific restrictions for each five-digit military post office ZIP code (APO/FPO), it is prohibited to mail the following items to the U.S. Central Command region: obscene articles such as prints, paintings, cards, films, videotapes, etc.; pork or pork by-products; alcoholic beverages; any matter depicting nude or seminude persons, pornographic or sexual items; or unauthorized political materials. Although religious materials contrary to the Islamic faith are prohibited in bulk quantities, items for the personal use of the addressee are permissible.

There may be size restrictions and customs declaration form requirements to some locations as mail going through the mail system can be subject to the host country customs requirements. The time to deliver varies depending on the category of mail and the country of destination. Delivery may also take longer when armed forces are on the move during periods of heightened activity. (Courtesy of Air Force Print News)

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