Samantha L. Quigley, American Forces Press Service
D.C. — As the holidays approach and military families start
thinking about what they’re going to send loved ones serving
overseas, there are a few dates to keep in mind.
earliest deadline is for troops that are serving in the Iraq (and)
Afghanistan area," said Al DeSarro, spokesman for the western
region of the U.S. Postal Service (USPS), said, "You want to send
all your holiday mail and packages (to those areas) by Dec. 4."
mail, including packages and cards, going to military bases in other
parts of the world should be shipped by Dec. 11, he said.
do encourage people to closely follow these deadlines," DeSarro
said. "Of course, we make every attempt, even if you miss the
deadline, to deliver the mail to our troops."
who can’t beat those dates have another option to get holiday
goodies to their destinations in time: Express Mail. But it will cost
a bit more and it’s not available for servicemembers serving in Iraq
Mail Flat-Rate boxes are the best value when shipping to military
members serving at home or anywhere overseas, DeSarro said. The
largest flat-rate box costs $10.95 to ship to an APO or FPO address.
That’s a $2 discount, and the boxes are free.
flat-rate boxes come with another bonus. If it will fit in the box,
and weighs 70 pounds or less, it ships at the established rate.
also offer a special military care (package) kit, and this applies
even if you want to send to our troops here in the U.S.," DeSarro
said. "If you call: 1-800-610-8734, (and specify you want a
military care kit) they’ll send you a free kit of packaging
materials — priority mail boxes, tape, labels and stuff that can
make your holiday packing much easier."
shipping any holiday package, there are some basic guidelines to take
into consideration, he added. If a USPS-provided box isn’t being
used, senders should ensure the box they’re using is sturdy. Don’t
use wrapping paper or string on the outside, and print both the
shipping and return addresses clearly.
should be packaged securely and in leakproof containers, and consider
the customs of the country to ensure the items are appropriate and
also suggests including the mailing address, return address and the
contents of the box on a slip of paper with the other contents, just
in case something out of the ordinary should happen.
not only the shipping date guidelines, but also the general packing
guidelines can help the USPS get packages where they’re going during
their busiest time of the year.
urges people to mail as much as they want and as early as they can,
noting that officials expect 20 million pounds of mail will be sent
U.S. troops this holiday season.
deadlines to send holiday items are available by visiting the Web site
the Fort McCoy community, personnel, including members of the public,
can mail their holiday mail at the Post Unit (contract post office),
and envelopes are available. Payment is accepted via cash or checks.
For more information, visit or call the facility at (608) 388-3825
from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday-Friday, except holidays.