Will your service member be deployed during the holidays this year?
Don't forget the holiday season mail deadlines.
Military postal workers across the world are "making a list and checking it twice" to ensure that Soldiers serving far from home receive packages in time for the holiday season. Mail is abundant November through December, and postal workers advise all those sending packages overseas to obey official holiday Mail-By deadlines to guarantee timely delivery.According to statistics by the Joint Military Terminal, Kuwait, postal workers in the terminal's 10-post-office region processed approximately 2.5 million pounds of incoming and 3 million pounds of outgoing mail in November 2005.A similar work load is expected for 2006, with Mail-By-dates beginning Nov. 13 for parcel post and extending to Dec. 4-19 for priority and express mail services.These deadlines are rapidly approaching, and military postal officials have issued suggestions and other helpful resources to make mailing fast and easy. For the convenience of spouses, friends and family members sending mail overseas, pre-addressed, printable, postage paid APO/FPO address labels are available at the United States Postal Service's Click-N-Ship® web-site, and free packing materials are available by calling 1-800-610-8734.DOD mailing guidelines require use of the service member's full name (with or without rank or rating), return address, military organization or unit, APO/FPO address and the nine-digit ZIP code, if one is assigned.Following these guidelines will get mail overseas sooner, giving Soldiers like Sgt. Normajean Pangelinan, who is currently serving with the 101st Airborne Division in Iraq, a taste of the holiday season. "Holiday packages from home improve Soldier morale because we are constantly reminded that people are thinking of us," said Pangelinan. "Mail reminds us that Americans appreciate what we are doing and will continue to support us." As for what to send, Command Sgt. Maj. James B. Roth, who served in Afghanistan with the XVIII Airborne Corps, offers a simple suggestion. "It's not the cost of the item that counts; it's the thought. New socks, underwear, toiletries, batteries, telephone cards, books and holiday items are always welcome and greatly appreciated," he said. Holiday items are fine, but postal officials say packages going to Iraq and Afghanistan may not include: pork or pork by-products, alcoholic beverages, pornographic or sexually related items or unauthorized political materials. If any of these items are found, postal officials say, none of the contents will be delivered. In addition, programs that once allowed the general public to send mail addressed to "Any Service Member" no longer exist, and packages addressed as such will not reach their destination. There are many organizations out there for those wishing to send to unspecified Soldiers. Please visit www.America SupportsYou.com to find organizations that help support all those serving.Remember that Mail-By-dates vary by destination and mailing method and promise delivery by Christmas Day. Senders preferring delivery before Dec. 25 should mail 10 days earlier than the suggested deadlines. The following shipping dates are recommended for military mail: APO AE Zip 093 Parcel Post: Nov. 13Space Available Mail: Nov. 27Parcel Airlift Mail: Dec. 2Priority Mail/First-Class Mail, Letter and Cards: Dec. 4Express Mail Military Service: Not Available APO AE Zips 090-092, 094-098; APO AA Zip 340; APO AP Zip 962-966 Parcel Post: Nov. 13Space Available Mail: Nov. 27Parcel Airlift Mail: Dec. 4Priority Mail/First-Class Mail, Letter and Cards: Dec. 11Express Mail Military Service: Dec. 19For further answers to your mailing questions please contact (800) ASK-USPS or the Military Postal Agency at 1- 800-810-6098.