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DLA Accepting Holiday Shipments for Overseas Troops

By Staff Sgt. Kathleen T. Rhem, USA
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Nov. 18, 1999 – (Editor's Note: The 2002 holiday mailing deadlines can be found at the Military Postal Service “[link for 2002 no longer available]2002 International and Military Mail Christmas Dates” web page.)

WASHINGTON, Nov. 18, 1999 -- As the holidays approach, many people and groups like to send their appreciation to GIs overseas. The Defense Logistics Agency is trying to make that easier for them to do.

Individuals can send letters, cards and cassette tapes addressed simply to “Any Service Member,” but new postal rules set a 13-ounce weight limit and prohibit packages of any sort without a specific name to military addresses, DLA program manager Gail Boyce said. In the past, military postal authorities would see to the delivery of all "any service member" mail to troops in overseas locations.

Those wishing to donate items to troops may still do so, but a few more steps are involved and there's a Dec. 3 deadline, Boyce said. The first step is for the individual or group to contact the DLA Bosnia Donations Team at 1-800- 841-0937. Callers will be asked to leave their names, addresses, phone numbers, and a description of the contents of the donation, she said.

She explained DLA won't publicize the address of its shipping point because it must maintain some control of the donations and where they're coming from. For instance, she said, DLA recently had to decline a commercial bakery because the cookies it offered had a short shelf life.

After she and her three-person team take a call, they contact U.S. European Command in Stuttgart, Germany, to see if the donation can be used. If the command agrees, Boyce contacts the donor, provides shipping instructions, assigns a tracking number and alerts the depot to expect the shipment. Donations must arrive at the depot by Dec. 3.

The vast majority of "care packages" come from private donors such as the Girl Scouts and Veterans of Foreign Wars, she said.

DLA, she noted, recently accepted a shipment of disposable cameras from a VFW Ladies Auxiliary group. Other good gifts are personal care items such as sunscreen and skin lotion, nonperishable snack foods, travel games and playing cards, she said. Currently, all donations are being sent to deployed service members in the Balkans.

On the prohibited shipping list are firearms, ammunition, alcoholic beverages, pornographic materials, perishables, glass containers, and home-baked products. DLA isn’t currently accepting religious materials, books, magazines or newspapers either.

Once the depot receives donations, they are sent space- available to morale, welfare and recreation officials in forward areas for distribution to troops, she said. Questions about the program can be e-mailed to bosnia_donations@hq.dla.mil.

Individuals wishing to send cards to deployed service members or their families can use the following addresses.

To send cards or letters to service members deployed to the Balkans:

Any Service Member

Operation Joint Forge

APO AE 09397-0001

To send cards or letters to sailors or Marines aboard ship in the area:

Any Service Member

Operation Joint Forge

FPO AE 09398-0001

To send cards or letters to family members of service members deployed to the Balkans:

Any Family Member

Operation Joint Forge

APO AE 09399-0001

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