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Postal Officials Set Holiday Mailing Deadlines

By Master Sgt. Stephen Barrett
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 22, 1996 – With the holiday season fast approaching, Military Postal Service Agency officials again urge those sending gifts to mail early.

Army Maj. Eric Junger, plans officer with the agency, in Alexandria, Va., said he expects a high volume of mail during the 1996 holiday season. Even with troop reductions overseas, Junger said the military moved nearly 19,000 tons of mail during last year's holiday season.

This year, holiday mail will include letters and parcels to service members supporting Operation Joint Endeavor. "There are no mailing restrictions for those assigned in Bosnia," said Junger. Still, because troops in Bosnia, Croatia, Hungary and Macedonia are living under field conditions, Junger recommended sending them only small parcels.

Mail parcels to military bases overseas via surface mail -- the least expensive option -- before Nov. 1. Surface mail travels by ship from the United States to foreign ports, then by ground transportation to its final destination. For parcels heading to Europe, the trip could take 20 to 30 days.

If expense is not a concern, send gifts bound overseas via space available or parcel airlift mail by Nov. 22. Space available mail is less expensive; mail travels by ground transport to military post offices in New York, San Francisco and Miami, where commercial or military flights fly the parcels overseas space available. Parcel airlift mail costs more but has a higher priority.

Space available mail is also a stateside mailing option, and the mailing deadline for such parcels is Dec. 2. Parcel airlift service is not available within the United States. Priority mail parcels, cards and letters have a Dec. 2 deadline for European and Pacific theaters and Dec. 3 for Caribbean and Latin American sites. Priority parcels shipped domestically have a Dec. 4 mailing deadline. Mail stateside cards and letters by Dec. 11.

There is also express mail service for last-minute shoppers; two- and three-day deliveries are possible, but not guaranteed. Express mail is not available to all overseas locations.

Postal officials also emphasized these deadlines are for patrons sending holiday mail to stateside addresses or military bases overseas -- parcels and letters to private foreign addresses have different mailing deadlines.

Postal costs depend on the weight and size of each package and its destination. Packages heading overseas must also have U.S. Customs labels attached and meet customs requirements. Contact your local post office for details on all mailing requirements.

Mail Deadlines to Non Military Locations

Destination             Letters Parcels Surface Mail

Africa                  Dec. 2  Dec. 2  past deadline

Australia/New Zealand   Dec. 9    Dec. 2  Nov. 4

Canada                  Dec. 13 Dec. 13 Nov. 25

Caribbean               Dec. 2  Dec. 2  Nov. 12

Europe                  Dec. 9  Dec. 9  Nov. 12

Far East                Dec. 9  Dec. 9  Nov. 1

Southeast Asia          Dec. 9  Dec. 9  Nov. 1

Middle East             Dec. 9  Dec. 9  Oct. 25

Central America         Dec. 2  Dec. 2  Nov. 4

South America           Dec. 2  Dec. 2  Nov. 4

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