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Military Officials Improve Speed of Iraq Mail

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, June 4, 2003 – Even in the era of e-mail, getting a letter from loved ones is important.

The Military Postal Service Agency has received a number of complaints about the speed of mail deliveries to and from Iraq. The officials are aware of the problems and expect changes to ease some stumbling blocks.

The main problem, according to agency officials, was that there was no mail facility in Iraq. "Now there is one at the Baghdad International Airport and we expect that will improve service," said an official with the agency.

In the past, mail from service members back to the states went from Baghdad to Kuwait, where it was placed on a commercial flight to John F. Kennedy airport in New York. Mail going to Iraq also had to pass through Kuwait. Opening the facility in Baghdad will speed the process and eliminate the Kuwaiti step.

The military mail official said mail clerks are working around the clock to eliminate the mail backlog. "We're moving between 30,000 and 40,000 pounds of mail each day," he said. He estimated the backlog at about 300,000 pounds of mail.

Officials are working to address problems within Iraq. They said service members based outside the Baghdad area may find their letters are not getting out as quickly as expected because clerks are filling up trucks with mail before dispatching them. They expect that as the country becomes safer, the mail will speed up.

Military postal officials refute the rumor in Iraq that says the U.S. Postal Service is holding the mail at JFK airport Mail leaving the region takes 16 hours to get to New York. From there, it takes about three or four days to reach the recipients.

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