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Military Mail May Be Delayed, Deputy Chief Says

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 23, 2001 – Military mail destined overseas will get through, but it may be delayed, said Navy Capt. Eugene DuCom, deputy commander of the Military Postal Service Agency.

DuCom thanks overseas service members and their families for their patience since the Sept. 11 attacks. He said the attacks grounded air fleets throughout the United States, thus delaying mail deliveries to and from overseas.

Since then, new security restrictions have also slowed deliveries. Packages, for example, could not be placed aboard passenger airlines. Those restrictions have since been relaxed.

Commercial airlines have canceled flights, further delaying all mail -- including military mail. Now the anthrax mail attacks in Florida, New York, New Jersey and Washington will also slow deliveries. Military postal workers, for example, have masks and rubber gloves available to them as they sort mail. A policy may come out making that a requirement, DuCom said.

The U.S. Postal Service delivers the military mail to gateways at various cities. The military then takes responsibility for delivering. In return, the military postal service collects the mail and then delivers it to the gateways. DuCom said he has great confidence about mail coming back to the states. He said packages must have customs declarations on them and there is no "drop off" system for them.

He has less confidence in mail going overseas. Even with screening, a suspicious letter or package might still get through. DuCom said an example of a suspicious letter or package is one leaking powder or a liquid or one without a return address.

He said service members and their families also should be wary of letters or packages from people they do not know. If service members have any question about mail they have received, they should leave it alone and contact the authorities on their installations.

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