Postal Service outlines guidelines for shipping to military installations overseas

Postal Service outlines guidelines for shipping to military installations overseas
Military families and organizations across the country preparing care packages to mail to service members overseas for the holidays need to mark Nov. 12 on their calendars.

Packages being sent by Parcel Post to all Air/Army Post Office (APO) or Fleet Post Office (FPO) ZIP Codes should be mailed no later than Saturday, Nov. 12, to reach troops stationed overseas in time for the holidays. Letters and cards sent by First-Class Mail should be posted no later than Dec. 10. There are more than 80 military installations worldwide.

"We are asking families and supporters to mail and ship early this year to insure a happy holiday for our troops," said John E. Potter, Postmaster General and CEO of the U.S. Postal Service"

To address current demand, the Postal Service has created a special "kit" that contains the necessary mailing materials based on the most popular items ordered to send care packages to the troops.

This kit may be ordered by calling 1-800-610-8734 and requesting CAREKIT04. The kit contains 10 Priority Mail boxes, five "Mili-Pacs," one roll of Priority Mail tape, and 10 customs forms with envelopes. There is no charge for the kit.

Mili-Pacs, developed with the Military Postal Service Agency, are Tyvek envelopes with Old Glory on one side and feature detailed addressing information. It is encouraged that this process be followed for all mail destined for military units overseas. The address block on the Mili-Pac accommodates service member's full name, rank or rating, military organization or unit, APO/FPO with 9-digit ZIP Code.

All packages and mail must be addressed to individual service members, in accordance with U.S. Department of Defense regulations.

All military units are assigned an APO or FPO ZIP code and in many cases that ZIP Code travels with the unit. The Postal Service places APO/FPO mail on special charter flights, commercial airlines and military service aircraft to reach armed services members overseas as quickly as possible.

Express Mail Military Service (EMMS) is available to selected military post offices. Local Post Offices can determine if this service is available to an APO/FPO of address. The information also is available by calling 1-800-ASK-USPS.

Parcel Air Lift (PAL) is a special service that provides air transportation for parcels on a space-available basis. It is available for Parcel Post items not exceeding 30 pounds in weight or 60 inches in length and girth combined. The applicable PAL fee must be paid in addition to the regular surface rate of postage for each addressed piece sent by PAL service.

Space Available Mail (SAM) are parcels paid at Parcel Post rates that are first transported domestically by surface and then to overseas destinations by air on a space-available basis. The maximum weight and size limits are 15 pounds and 60 inches in length and girth combined.

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