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Holiday mailing deadlines approaching

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

INDIANAPOLIS -- With the first signs of autumn just beginning to appear, it's not too early to start thinking about holiday cards, letters and packages destined for service members and their families stationed elsewhere.

The first deadline for the 2010 holiday season is just around the corner.

Friday, Nov. 12, is the deadline for sending holiday packages to troops stationed overseas using Parcel Post to all Air/Army Post Office (APO) or Fleet Post Office (FPO) zip codes.

"The U.S. Postal Service is encouraging the use of these early deadlines to make sure that packages reach their destinations in time for the holidays," Postal Service in Indianapolis spokesperson Kim Yates said.

The Post Service places APO/FPO mail on special charter flights, commercial airlines and military service aircraft to reach armed service members overseas as quickly as possible.

All military mail, regardless of destination, is sent by domestic mail rate. International rates do not apply to military mail delivery.

The large Priority Mail Large Flat Rate Box (12-by-12-by-5-and-a-half) offers a $2 discount to APO/FPO destinations and ships for just $12.50. Customers may access shipping information by adding Delivery Confirmation, which is available for almost all military destinations outside the United States. Delivery Confirmation provides customers with a date, zip code of delivery and time the package was delivered. The information may be accessed online at www.usps.com.

The Post Service's popular Military Care Kits also help military families and friends keep free shipping supplies within reach. Each kit contains six Priority Mail Flat Rate boxes (two large and four medium-sized boxes), six customs forms and envelopes, six Priority address labels and one role of military tape. The kit may be ordered by calling the USPS Expedited Package Supply Center at 1-800-810-8734.

All packages and mail must be addressed to individual service members, as required by U.S. Department of Defense regulations.

"There may be no bigger morale booster than mail for our soldiers, sailors, Marines, airmen and Coast Guardsmen during the holidays," Yates said. "Packages and letters bring them closer to family and to the comforts of home."

Even creating customized postage and holiday cards may be as easy as baking and shipping the holiday cookies that service members enjoy.

"With a little creativity, customers can always create their own personal touches and keepsakes," Yates said. "It's all available at www.usps.com.\"

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