How to send:
(Please Note: Keeping links current to the USPS site is impossible as they change URLs constantly, so we now link just to their home page from where you can easily use their search engine to find the information you want from their site.)
Don't Mix Food and Non-Food Contents!
There is a new customs form, dated January 2009. Whoever designed the form is either ignorant that care packages actually go to the military or simply does not care. The new form only allows for the listing of 4 items, with the instructions, "Enter a detailed description of each article - e.g., "men's cotton shirts." General descriptions - e.g., "samples", "food products" or "toiletries" - are not permitted."
Also causing mass confusion is the address "TO:" area, which makes it almost impossible to enter a military address, and the online version even asks for a phone number! Good luck with that!! (put all '1s' if you use it.)
We are trying to contact the person responsible for this disaster for correction.
YOU can help! Contact your Congressman and Senators NOW and let them know about this!!
20 May 2009: Got called back from the US Postal Service office of Public Relations, by Yvonne Yoerger, responding for Sue Brennan. Yvonne shared with me her frustration of the new form, and advised me that due to the changes of control by the Commerce Department, Postal Reform Act of 2006, that was the reason for the new form. She will be sending my concerns up the chain, and we just go from here.
28 Jan 2010: Got this from super-supporter Barbara Duprel who has been helping find solutions to this idiotic form:
"This is to acknowledge your email to the Postal Regulatory Commission, who shared it with our Consumer Advocate. I am responding for the Consumer Advocate.
Thank you for your question and for your efforts to support our troops and I am sorry you find the forms so troubling. In reviewing your concerns I believe there is an option that may be useful in this situation. There are two acceptable procedures for listing the items in Block 1 ("Description of Items"). They are:
1. List the first 4 items on the PS Form 2976-A; attach additional forms to list the remaining items. Add these forms along with the original form and insert them in PS Form 2976-E, the Customs Declaration Envelope. (Cross out the barcode on the additional forms).
Please note that the following instructions are printed as part of the revised instructions for completing PS Form 2976-A, May 2009 edition:
Block 1: ….. If there is insufficient space on the form to list all articles, use additional form(s) as needed. Indicate on the first form (to the right of the barcode) the following: "Additional forms enclosed". Important: Obliterate the tracking number and barcode on subsequent form(s) and place all the form(s) into PS Form 2976-E (plastic envelope).
2. A sheet of paper can be used to list the remaining items in the package and attached to the PS Form 2976-A. Insert the additional sheet along with the PS Form 2976-A into the plastic pouch (PS Form 2976-E, Customs Declaration Envelope).
From what I understand of the process you are probably sending virtually identical packages to each soldier on your list. What I would recommend, therefore, is to build a "model package" and have each package contain the same items. As the contents would be the same, then the list of contents would be standardized too, and a copy of the same packaging list could be used as delineated in Option 2, above, for each package.
I would recommend a master copy of the list be created in a computer then as many copies as needed (one for each volunteer to use in preparing the package and one to go with the Form 2976-A in the envelope, Form 2976E) could be printed. After the packages were completed they could be sealed; the Form 2976-A should have "See attached list" written in Block 1. (You would need only one Form 2976-A per package.) The Form 2976-A and the list of all of the contents would then be enclosed in the envelope 2976E and the item would be ready for mailing.
Of course not all of the packages may be perfectly identical so perhaps the "non-standardized" items could be listed on the first Form 2976-A and then the computer generated list could be used to list the standardized contents. I do hope this will prove useful to you. Incidentally we have a number of employees who have been recalled to duty and they, and all of our soldiers, are in our thoughts.
Postal Service Headquarters"
OK, still a lot of fixes needed but hopefully this is a helpful start.
All APO/FPO ZIP Codes have a "B" restriction which states that the custom form 2976-A
is required for all mail weighing 16 ounces or more. In addition, mailers must properly complete required customs documentation when mailing any potentially dutiable mail addressed to an APO/FPO regardless of weight.
All mail is subject to X-ray so fill out the customs form accurately. Not putting on there that there is an electrical device and putting a few bars of soap in may cause an innocent package to be blown to bits because it looks like an explosive device of some kind.
Custom Declaration requirements for APO/FPO addresses are defined by restriction codes, and these are listed in every Postal Bulletin under the "Overseas Military Mail" article and can be found HERE.
I'm asked often about Customs opening packages. Yes, they can, and they do. However, if they open your package, they have to send you a letter stating that the package was opened for inspection.
Don't want your package bounced back to you? What if your contact is gone? On the Customs Form, in block #10 is a "If non-deliverable" section. Check the "Redirect to Address Below:" and put in what you wish. "Any local Chaplain" is a good one, or "Addressee's Commander" is a suggestion.
The Customs forms are available at your post office and you can complete them online HERE.
(Note: The online form asks for a destination phone number, just put all '1s'.)
If you have questions about the Customs forms, please ASK YOUR POST OFFICE!
Do NOT, for ANY reason, or in ANY amount, include food items in a care package with ANY hygiene items or chemicals of any type.
If you want to send a care package, make it only food items or only non-food items. You would not believe how even factory sealed cookies taste when they have lived together in the same package with bath soap for a month in 120 degree heat. Also, since so many folks simply won't repack liquid items in vacuum bags (like FoodSaverTM for example), please just use another box. We get requests all the time that folks NOT send soaps, bug repellent, dryer sheets, air fresheners, detergents, deodorants, (getting the idea?) in the same box as food items.
Trust me, a good smelling arm pit is a nice thing, but a cookie that tastes like one will not improve a Marine's
Forwarding? (How to and why it might not work)
We do not release our contact's email addresses to protect them from being bombarded with junk email. However, many of the troops are asking that you include your email address in your letters and boxes if you would like a reply or thank you. This is of course far easier for the troops that have Internet access. This is completely voluntary on your part and does not guarantee a reply. But it helps.
Flat Rate? The cheapest way?
So you picked an address and the address is bad. It happens, for many reasons. So, what happens to the package? Well, that depends on several things. FIRST: Did you put forwarding instructions on the Customs Form? (see above). SECOND: Did the postal clerk somewhere along the line read the forwarding instructions? If there were no instructions, chances are (and that is NOT guaranteed) that the package will come back to you.
Got this note on 1 March 2010 from HQDA MPSA (in real-people talk, that is HeadQuarters, Department of the Army, Military Postal Service Agency)(Now you know why they do acronyms...)
"I noted a problem on your website that I wanted to point out. On the Customs Form 2976-A there was a notation to put "Any local Chaplain" or "Addressee's Commander" as a redirect address. The Customs form may not be accepted by the military as a redirect since valid change of address forms filled out by soldiers, sailors, and airmen take precedence over the Customs form. Legally the military postal folks must send those packages back to sender when they have a change of address card."
Good to know. This explains why you might get a package back even though you properly filled out forwarding instructions.
Priority Mail APO/FPO Flat Rate Box
As you know, mail is sent by weight. If you send heavy stuff, then the Flat Rate boxes may be the way to go.
Information on that is HERE.
Remember, you pay postage only to either New York (APO AE or FPO AE) or San Francisco (APO AP or FPO AP).
How do you address the packages?
Insured and Registered?
Exactly as shown on the email you will get if you request the address on the "Where to Send" page. Example:
SGT Johnny B. Rock|
Attn: Any Marine®
HHC, 123rd Grenade Repair Bn
APO AE 09999
Of course, the above is a bogus address to give you an idea that military addresses don't look like yours. We got an email from a supporter who said a mail clerk would not take their package because the address did not have a street address in it! That clerk won't be working for us anytime soon...
If you send insured or registered, Marines
have to go to their base camp to get these items and they may not go there very often at all, but this depends on the unit. This is a difficult call, however. Before you send something expensive, we recommend that you ask the folks you are sending to what they suggest. Every unit faces a different situation. However, if it is expensive, insure it!
The APO and/or USPS has a theft problem. The scam is someone removing expensive items from packages and resealing the package like nothing happened. Marines
are actually getting empty boxes! If your package contains an expensive item, insure it! Talk to your postal clerk on the best way to hide the contents of an expensive item to avoid notice and being stolen. Packages that do not call attention to themselves (see notes on Customs form next), and are wrapped very well, are less likely to be broken into. I also suggest that you send a letter seperate from the package addressed TO the Marine
(leave off the "ATTN" line) making them aware of the package. It is interesting that there have been no known thefts of insured items.
There is not one thing on this site, or anywhere, that requires you to send stuff. Letters are THE MOST requested thing by these Marines.
So, all you need do is send a normal letter in a normal envelope with a normal stamp.
Good ideas: If you want, put your email address in your letter, many Marines
can and prefer to reply that way. What to write? Too easy: like you are talking to a friend, because that is what that Marine
is going to be real quick. It is also VERY helpful if you leave your full return address as part of your letter, envelopes tend to get trashed quickly.
If your letter is for a Marine
other then the contact you address it to, PLEASE start your letter "Dear Marine"
not "Dear SGT Smith" as on the address. The contact passes the mail out to folks around him or her and when that servicemember opens the letter it will feel better without the contact's name on it.
Lost mail? Send an e-mail to the military
If you organize a really large effort such as KMZR, Raytheon, the IRS or others have done, PLEASE do not send more than about 5 packages a day to any one address. The Marines
simply do not have the facilities for very large quantities of packages. Spread out the sending, please!!
Not from the USA?
Posted : Thursday Jan 31, 2008 12:33:11 EST
The Military Postal Service Agency has launched a new service that allows service members to track down lost and late-arriving packages and mail with an e-mail inquiry.
Troops and family members can use the e-mail address, firstname.lastname@example.org, to inquire or claim mail that has yet to arrive, and was sent more than 60 days ago.
The e-mail inquiry should include a telephone number; e-mail address; rank, first and last name; mailing address; return address; any insured, certified, registered or confirmation number (if applicable); date of mailing; type of container used for mailing; a detailed description of the container contents or any additional information that can be used to identify the item, such as distinctive marking.
Upon receipt of the information, MPSA will contact the service member to identify the owner of the mail. If the mail is found, it will be sent to an address designated by the service member.
MPSA officials suggest that when mailing packages, troops routinely enclose a card with their address information. In the event the mailing label on the outside is lost or destroyed, the card can be used by MPSA for forwarding the package.
(Note: We have not checked this or verified it in anyway...yet. If anyone HAS verified that this works please email me. Thanks! -marty)
Not from the USA and you want to send something to the Marines?
You sure can! We have heard from:
If you are outside the United States and wish to send food items to the Marines,
there are new regulations about this.
Read this and this. (Thank you, Bev from Australia!!)(2013, sorry, links don't work...) In short, don't even try sending food items. (Change that, read the following):
Note from Australia
, 29 Sep 13: (click HERE
Further to our previous email conversation, just a quick note to let you know my parcel successfully got to a recipient in Afghanistan! So, tip for anyone else from Australia using your service... stick USA in the address.
Note from Australia, 21 Dec 04:
I saw a story on your fabulous program on a local Australian TV news show, and I had to check out your site.
I also wanted to let you know that at the moment you *can* send food to the US from Australia - I have some good friends in the US so was worried about this. I got this from the US Consulate-General website in Melbourne:
How do I mail food to the United States?
The rules for mailing food to the United States changed at the end of last year (December 2003). The new ruling requires that commercial shippers who wish to send food to the U.S.A. must electronically file a prior notice with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. A confirmation of the FDA receipt of prior notice must be presented to Australia Post along with the parcel.
Although this ruling applies to non-commercial shippers as well, a revised Compliance Policy Guide issued 24 June 2004, states that "no action" will be taken if a non-commercial individual shipper sends food to either him/herself, another family member or a friend. This means that you may continue to send food products to the United States without completing the prior notice.
This requirement does not apply to food that is made by an individual in his/her home and sent by that individual as a personal gift (for non-business reasons) to an individual in the United States.
Information on the Bioterrorism Act and the FDA may be found here.
More information on Prior Notice of Imported Foods may be found here
http://usembassy-australia.state.gov/irc/faq.html#food (LINK IS EXPIRED)
I've since mailed food to my friends and it has arrived ok.
Hope that helps, and keep up the great work.
Got thid on 2015/11/18
Dear to whom it may concern,
my name is Jenna, I was checking out http://www.anysoldier.com/HowToSend.cfm today and noticed that a link wasn't working on : http://usembassy-australia.state.gov/
If you need a replacement resource, I saw this website last week and thought it was awesome:
Hope that helps and keep up the great work with your website!
And this from Holly, 27 May 2005 :
I emailed you earlier this month regarding Servicemen sending reply letters to Australia. I wanted to know if there was a way the sender could pay for the Serviceman's reply so he would not be out of pocket.
Well I did look into it, and although it is not possible to send stamps for the Serviceman to use, people can send International Reply Coupons. Here is some information on these that people may find useful.
From the United States Postal Service Customer Service:
"Unfortunately, you are unable to purchase U.S. stamps outside of the United States. However the sender of a letter may prepay a reply by purchasing reply coupons, which are sold and exchangeable for postage stamps at post offices in member countries of the Universal Postal Union. International reply coupons (in French, Coupons-Response International) are printed in blue ink on paper that has the letters "UPU" in large characters in the watermark. The front of each coupon is printed in French. The reverse side of the coupon shows the text relating to its use in German, English, Arabic, Chinese, Spanish, and Russian."
From Australia Post: "International Reply Coupons can be exchanged by the addressee for a stamp to prepay air mail postage on a small letter up to 50g anywhere in the world."
These can be purchased from Australia Post outlets and they cost $2.50
Note from Canada
, 16 Mar 05: (click HERE
"I spoke to our PO people today and they have told me pretty much what you said.
As long as there is an APO address the Royal Mail know how to deal with it. The guy I spoke to even knew the main APO office was in New York.
FYI rates are charged as standard airmail to USA would be.
Note from England
, 18 Oct 12: (click HERE
I'm an American who wrote letters from U.K. and I found out from personal experience that one:
must send letters and/or packages addressed to NYC, NY, USA, postage payable to USA,where the sorting office will redirect Army Post further
to a European US Military Base (example: Germany), postage payable to Europe.
Obviously postage from UK to Europe is cheaper than to USA.
NOT! w/o country stated and w/o any help from British Forces PO (BFPO) as was erroneously suggested by one of the email contributors on your site.
Furthermore, BFPO has its own rules & regulations, NOT applicable for our purpose, we cannot use it to piggyback our mail.
Note from England
, 30 Oct 08:
Thanks for what you are doing with the program - I think it is absolutely wonderful.
I just wanted to let you know I've discovered a better way to send mail from England to US troops in Iraq than what is currently listed on your website. Not all UK postal workers know this, but when you address your mail/package without any country, as in:
CPT Soldier's Name
HHC, TF 1-6 IN
APO AE 09378
- then the Royal Mail can send it via the British Forces Mail System (when it is addressed just like that) for the same rate as mailing to the British Forces (which is much, much cheaper and faster than sending airmail addressed to the US or Germany, etc.). You might have to tell this UK postal worker this, but it is completely legit, valid, and works very well. I am currently living in England and my boyfriend is stationed in Iraq, so I use this method everyday, and it safes much money and wait time.
Note from Germany
, 15 Nov 04: (click HERE
"German mail service will only charge you the postage for sending within Germany for - quote - "any mail sent to these number adresses". I didn't know that, and usually sending mail overseas (or anywhere outside of the European Union) is at least twice as expensive and might keep people from about it, this is probably the way they handle army mail everywhere. But trust me: It will be good news to all the people like myself, who have no ties to the army.)
This from 19 September 2005:
This is a very pleasing message. I went to the Post Office today to send my package and they told me as long as the APO follows the "AE" which means they are in Europe (even though they are not) there is no additional customs form required. I kept the package small since I did not know how much it cost, but it had all sorts of little hygiene products for on the go people. Surprisingly it was not that expensive to ship, it cost € 4,30 to ship it. They also said that it will go to Nürnberg by tomorrow where it then goes into the army mailing system. I hope it does not take to long to get there.
Keep up the good work and I hope this info helps
Note from Italy
, 24 Nov 04: (click HERE
"I live in Rome and I first asked for information at the Vatican post office, since they are generally more trustworthy than the Italian
mail system. They can send packages to APO addresses at the same cost as sending packages to the States, but the only problem is that Vatican postal regulations require that they tie the packages with string, and I had read somewhere (I think on this website) that string isn't allowed. So unfortunately, don't use the Vatican, except for letters (80 euro cents).
Luckily the Italian post office I went to outside of the Vatican walls knew about APO addresses and told me the same information: the packages can be sent at the same rate as sending to the States.
However, a couple of tips to keep in mind: the packages must be less than 2 kilos in weight, and for some reason, if you go over 135 grams for one package, they charge you the price for 1 kilo (sounds suspicious but I think the postal clerk was being honest in this case). So try to keep your packages small and light. I sent 4 packages using priority mail and 3 of them came out to €8.50 (the 4th was the heavier one at €16.50). As far as if they will ever arrive...'incrociamo le dita' as they say here: let's keep our fingers
Note from The Netherlands
, 14 Jul 05: (click HERE
Make sure you use the correct border form on the box.
When the box is below 2 kilogram; use a green CN22 form.
All Dutch post offices have these.
Fill them in correctly!
When your packed weights more then 2 kilogram use another form, your post office will know which one.
Sent all your packages or letters with PRIORITY mail DO NOT use standard or economy !!
For the address:
All you have to do is use the soldiers address as stated on this web page, only write USA beneath it.
SGT Johnny B. Rock
Attn: Any Marine®
HHC, 123rd Grenade Repair Bn
APO AE 09999
So, all you have to do is write USA beneath the address, and you can sent your package from The Netherlands or Belgium to any soldier.
The postage you have to pay will be the rate for the USA.
Make sure that YOUR OWN address is also on the box, when you forget to do this, your package will NOT be sent. (security reasons)
So, as you can see it's very simple to sent out a packet from The Netherlands, and if the people at the post office don't understand the codes on the address, tell them you also don't understand a bit of them....as long as they sent the package it's okay and it will arrive in the US (and from there it will be sent to any soldier)
When sending by example more expensive stuff like a DVD player, a gameboy or an MP3 player, write "electronic equipment" on the border form....I guess you understand why....DO NOT sent any food in your packet !! sending candy bars is not a crime, but it's better if you don't.
If you still have a problem, you can always sent me an email; I can translate the above text in Dutch or help out maybe with something else.
Okay, as there are no Dutch military in Iraq anymore, it's time we make sure that we don't forget all other men and women who are still there!!
So sent out the packages from The Dutch!!
Note from Scotland
, 8 Aug 05: (click HERE
Well, I went down to our local Post Office in Coldstream and Mary our Postmistress was extremely helpful. A letter to Any Soldier, Sailor etc only needs U.S.A. at the end of the address (just like you said). If it is just a letter by airmail, preferably on airmail paper, then it costs 30pence, (a first class stamp), which isn't a lot and it doesn't matter which side of the U.S. it is going to.
As for packages it gets a bit blurry, but what I have managed to get is this:
If you are sending a 1kg parcel by airmail, which will get to U.S. in five working days it will cost a minimum of £3.35 and a maximum of £9.92.
By surface mail a 1kg parcel will get to the U.S. within 8 weeks and will cost £4.81. (A long time to wait though)
So here is a table to make it easier: (updated 1 Sep 2005)
||Delivery Time to U.S.A.|
||5 working days|
||5 working days|
||5 working days|
||5 working days|
Any parcels MUST have a CN22 form filled, which is a little sticker you fill in and sign then put it on the front of the parcel.
It seems a bit ludicrous that we send it all the way to the USA when we are closer to where the guys are. There is also no contract between the US Postal Service and the Royal Mail, so there is no discount like we have with our BFPO (British Forces Post Office).
Note from Singapore
, 29 Nov 07: (click HERE
1. To get your letters going as fast as you can, don't choose surface mail as it goes by ship in Singapore (as in other countries). Choose airmail - as of 20th November 2007 it's SGD1.10 for letters up to 20g and SGD0.35 for every additional 10g. It takes 6-12 days for a letter to reach the States by airmail. You can do this at any Self-Service Automated Machine but don't forget to write "Air Mail" somewhere - its much faster too!
2. Items like care packages should be sent by Speedpost. Be careful to declare everything properly (but not too specifically) on the form and write your return address. Packages up to 20kg are acceptable. You can get any cardboard box but it's better if you get the Speedpost boxes as they are sturdier and already have pre-printed for you to fill in the address. It costs about SGD120 for a 10kg package to be sent to US, 0.5kg to 5 kg costs about SGD65 or so if you use Speedpost Surface which takes about 6 to 10 weeks to arrive.
Note from Switzerland
, 7 Dec 05: (click HERE
First please let me thank you for offering such a great service to the Soldiers. I am very grateful that you gave me the opportunity to support someone who is sacrificing so much for the benefit of all of us. Here's what I found out about shippments from Switzerland, in case you would like to add it to the international shippment section of your "How to Send" page.
I mailed my packet to a Soldier based in Europe ("AE") and only had to pay the shipping cost to Germany. It might be a good idea to look out for someone based in Europe. Not only will it be cheaper but it will also get there much faster (otherwise - or so I was told - it first gets shipped to the US and then sent to Iraq.)
When you make your packet, it is best to keep it within the size and weight limit of a letter. That means less than 2kg and lenght + with + height has to be under 90cm, with no one side being >60cm. (At the post office you can get boxes in different sizes. You can get up to number 3 [meaning the 4th smallest - there's a number 0 too] and still be within the limit - they are pretty big)
A 2kg "letter" to an AE address will cost CHF 21.- and take between 4 and 8 days. Priority takes 2 days and Urgent will be delivered on the next day. Keep in mind that this is only for the delivery to Germany, from there on it is all handled the same.
A full price list can be found here: http://www.post.ch/en/spi_preise_economy.htm (english site - you can change the language to german, french or italian in the top left corner above the Swiss Post logo)
There is another advantage to keeping it within the allowance for letters: You only need to fill out a very small green form detailing the content and worth of the items. If you want to ship anything larger or heavier, a much longer form is required. (including the telephone number of the recipient - though I'm not sure if they insist on that for shippment to a military address)
Parcel shippments automatically include an insurance of up to CHF 1,000.- .. however that only covers the trip to the APO/FPO, not Iraq.
Hopefully I could help someone looking for information. Thank you again for offering this exceptional service!
Note from the UK
, 7 Apr 07 (click HERE
"I tried posting a small packet to my penpal in Iraq, addressing it with USA at the end of the address (which had an APO beginning AE). It arrived in Iraq about 12 days later and the friend in question commented it was quicker than things he ever got from the US, which got me thinking... I sent a cheap postcard to the same address - only with Germany at the end of the address instead of USA - and it arrived in Iraq 12 days later. As airmail to Europe is half the cost of airmail to the US that's led to two happy penpals, I can afford to send more often and he can get a little more moral boosting as a result."
"So I sent a parcel to him addressing it to Germany instead of the US, and it arrived safely enough. As such I'd suggest the following advice to anyone posting from the UK: if the APO begins AE, write Germany at the end of the address instead of USA. Ask the Post Office to send it airmail and insist on a CN22 customs label to stick on the parcel. They may say you don't need it for Germany, I simply explained it was being sent to a US military base and they insisted on a customs label being attached and the lady was fine. Et voila, hopefully a couple of weeks later the parcel is in Iraq at half the price you would have paid."
"Hope that helps someone using the site."
If you can supply specific help from non-U.S. areas, please do and we will post it!
Send in easy to handle boxes (say under 10 pounds) and wrap like Godzilla will handle it because he will. Shake your box, does stuff move around? Not good, it won't survive the trip. Big, heavy boxes are just asking for trouble.
Use heavy packing tape on all corners of the box, and wrap the tape so it goes all the way around every direction of the box. Do NOT use string to wrap a box! A good box example is one Wal-Mart (and I'm told Target) sells for 95 cents that are 11 3/4 x 8 x 4 3/4 inches (#CB-12). These are easy to pack, won't weigh too much and are easy to handle. Mine have averaged about 6 pounds and cost about $6 to mail. Packages must weigh less than 70lbs and be smaller than 130 inches in total length and girth.
Please only use strong clear or brown packing tape. Do NOT use duct tape or string. Be sure your boxes are clear of all markings except for those needed for mailing. We strongly suggest you take ALL openings and completely around each direction of the box.
You can order Customs Forms, packing materials, etc from the USPS by calling (800) 527-1950.
Flat Rate Box Rumor: There are a number of mail clerks that are telling supporters they can not use tape on the flat rate boxes.
The Facts: Domestic Mail Manual 709.6.1.4 states that you CAN use tape on the boxes, but NOT to make the box any larger then it's normal size.
Regional & Flat Rate Boxes?
Current postal rates are HERE. The USPS FAQ on the new rates is HERE.
Note that postage to APO AE and FPO AE (E = Europe) is only to NY where the connection to the APO/FPO (APO = Army Post Office)(FPO = Fleet Post Office) is, or to San Francisco for APO AP and FPO AP (P = Pacific), so you don't pay postage all the way to Iraq/Afghanistan.
You might consider picking contacts closer to your mailing area to help cut the cost of mailing. If you live on the East Coast, pick "AE", West Coast, pick "AP", Midwest, well...uh, Thank You for your Support! ;)
New with us (December 2005) you might notice "APO AA" and "FPO AA". This is for units in the Caribbean/South America. Normally. However, due to the nature of some units they may be in Iraq but have an address showing "FPO AA". Mail addresses to "AA" goes out of Miami, Florida.
We do our best to not confuse you, but sometimes...
We suggest you do NOT use USPS Express or any overnight service. It will only get to New York or California faster, it will not get to Iraq, Afghanistan or anywhere overseas any faster and costs way too much. We suggest regular or Priority mail.
You can get Priority Mail supplies here. Postal regulations specifically state that you CANNOT reinforce any part of that envelope with any kind of tape. Many post offices are very strict about this others are not.
Try this postage calculator. (Thanks for finding this Stephanie!)
Returned (Bounced) Packages?
Sent September 26, 2011 by Paul Bolas, Postmaster, Concord, Ma.. 01742
Just to give you an idea of the savings: a Regional A Priority Box (15 lbs) from Concord, MA to an 09 zip code would cost $4.97 and a Regional B Priority Box (20 lbs) from Concord would be $5.81. As you can see it can be quite a savings for some people so we are trying to get the word out about them.
***Regional A & B Boxes***
The new Regional A & B Priority Mail boxes are one of the best deals that the postal service has ever offered. It may not be worth using for everyone, but it cuts my postage in half. The mail goes by zones so it would depend on where in the country you live for it to be cost effective, so the flat rate boxes may be your best option. I do,however,want to make everyone aware of the new boxes.
Regional A boxes have a 15 lb. max weight and Regional B boxes have a 20 lb. max. weight. The catch with using the regional boxes and getting the price that goes with them is that you have to print the postage yourself online so you will need to use a credit card. I've done it and it is very simple to do. You just go onto usps.com and establish an account which doesn't cost a thing. Then you click the print label button and follow the directions. When it lists the options and prices it will list the regional boxes last. Be sure you use the correct box. It will save the addresses for you if you like. What you are printing is the shipping label with the postage on it. Then you tape it on your box and the postal service will either pick it up or you can drop it off at your local post office. The regional boxes have to be ordered on the usps.com website (Free). Remember the closer you live to New York (09 zip codes) or California (zip codes that start with 9) the cheaper the price will be.
***Flat Rate Boxes***
There are 2 different flat rate boxes. The large flate rate box is $12.95 when shipping to APO/FPO's and the medium flat rate box is $10.95. If you do the online shipping with those boxes you can get a small discount on those prices as well as carrier pickup.
As far as the customs forms go, you can print the customs forms online, but since you have to print multiple copies you would be using alot more ink. You can also use the forms from the post office with the click n' ship packages. You can remove your copy of the customs form, attach the rest to the package and either request a pick up or drop it off. You should not have to wait in line to drop off click n' ship packages.
USPS Military Care Packages?
Have you had a package returned to you but the address is still on our site? Read this and this.
"The Military Mail Scandal", Chicago Sun-Times, by Robert Novak, 12 April 2004.
"Troops want to know: Where’s my %@ mail?!", Army Times, 10 May 2004.
The above picture is just an example of how your mail may be handled. As you can see, the boxes were not treated with care at all. Both boxes were actually forwarded to the wrong destination (by the military postal person) and instead of being resent to the correct location, they were simply returned to the sender. The box on the left looks like it was run over by a truck. This is shown to illistrate several things: 1. Military mail handlers are not always the most professional. This is a sad fact because in the need for the good people in the military unit to do the unit's mission, the likely not so good ones are picked for the non-essetial jobs like mail clerks. 2. The packages shown were packed by folks who REALLY know how to but the packages still took a beating. Do NOT expect that your packages will be handled with care.
This example is NOT to say all mail clerks are bad, not at all, but never expect true professionals in all areas. Like we said in "Packing?
" above, "...wrap like Godzilla will handle it because he will.
Want a Reply?
(Information below was sent by Sue Brennan, Public Relations, U.S. Postal Service Headquarters on 15 Mar 2005):
For military families, associations and groups preparing to send care packages to service members overseas, Priority Mail is the packaging of choice. To address the current demand, the Postal Service has created a special "kit" that contains the necessary mailing materials based on the most popular items ordered to send care packages to the troops.
This free kit may be ordered by calling 1-800-610-8734 Press 1 for English, and press 1 for express mailing.
|Dimensions for Priority Mail Box-4: ||7 x 7 x 6 ||(in inches)|
|Dimensions for Priority Mail Box-7: ||12 x 12 x 8 ||(in inches)|
|Dimensions for the Mili-Pac: ||12 x 15 ||(in inches) (Tyvek envelope)|
All care packages must be addressed to INDIVIDUAL SERVICE MEMBERS as per the Department of Defense. The Mili-Pac features detailed addressing information and it is encouraged that that process is followed for all mail destined for military units overseas. The address block on the Mili-Pac includes Service member full name; Rank or rating; Military organization or unit; APO/FPO (Air/Army Post Office or Fleet Post Office) with 9-digit ZIP Code. See graphic attached.
A detailed description of contents is required on the customs form. Do not list items such as "food," "medicine," "toiletries," "gifts," or other general terminology. The contents of APO/FPO mail follow International mailing requirements. Flammables, corrosives, toxins and other dangerous goods are not permitted. Some of those items include perfumes, colognes, hairspray, matches, butane, flea and tick collars and sprays, shaving cream, and other aerosols, some cleaning agents, paints, etc.
What can't you send?
Want to know someone got your letter or package? Know this: There is NO guarantee a Marine
can or will reply to you, no matter what you send.
are under no obligation to reply. We can't burden Marines
who don't get enough sleep, don't eat enough, live out in the open, or whatever, to do anything not related to their job. Sure can't have their leadership tell them to reply either. If you get a reply, it is voluntary by that Marine
and you got lucky. However, if you want to really increase your chances of getting a reply, simply pre-address an envelope to yourself (or postcard), a few pieces of paper, and maybe a pen and put them in your package. No need for a stamp on the envelope. In your letter to the Marine
which you also put in the box, ask him/her to drop you a quick note or more and ask if there is anything in particular you can send. Better chance you get a reply with that...
As one supporter said it perfectly,
"I mean, these guys and gals have other things on their minds, y’know? Like...oh, STAYING ALIVE?"
- Obscene articles (prints, paintings, cards, films, videotapes, etc).
- Firearms. (no kidding...)
- Any matter depicting nude or semi nude persons, pornographic or sexual items,
or nonauthorized political materials.
- Bulk quantities of religious materials contrary to the Islamic faith.
Items for the personal use of the addressee are permissible.
- Pork or pork by-products.
Check the USPS site for exact information.
Updated APO/FPO zip code database courtesy of Oconus.com
(Note: About Restriction "U2": "U2 - Limited to First Class Letters", Box "R" is for retired personnel that live overseas and are still authorized an APO/FPO box. Their address will be something like Box 3345R. Doubt you will see anything like that in Afghanistan or Iraq...)
page has "restrictions to this address: Here (4*)". Click on the "Here" and it tells you what you can't send. If you aren't sure about something, DON'T SEND IT! Please, do NOT be afraid to send stuff. Easy test: Would you send (whatever) to your mother?
If you use this site to send anything prohibited or illegal to any of our Marines,
you will regret it!
Any Soldier Inc. and the Marines
cooperate fully with the F.B.I. to investigate all violations.
Much more information on our FAQ page! Click HERE.
(Click HERE to return to top of page)
|Note #1: When is the deadline?|
The most often asked question is "When is the deadline to send things?" The answer is simple, there isn't any. It (generally) takes about 10-14 days for a package to go Priority to Afghanistan. We have heard of a record 5 days to Afghanistan! Who knows what will happen tomorrow? As long as an address is posted, it is current. If a Marine's
name disappears, and you sent them something, don't worry as we try our best to work in the 2 week lag time for the mail.
(Click HERE to return to top of page)
|Note #2: Can't use "Any Soldier"?|
We wish to thank the many hundreds of postal workers who have been doing a great job helping our supporters! However, some folks are running into a problem with a postal clerk or two who won't accept packages addressed as we show here. Those postal clerks are misinformed.
There IS NO USPS regulation concerning "Any Soldier", however there is a DOD Postal Manual (DOD 4525.6-M) Issue #22093 dated 9 January 2003, which states, "a. Mail addressed to "Any Service Member," or similar wording such as "Any Soldier," "Sailor," "Airman," or "Marine"; "Military Mail", etc., is prohibited. Mail must be addressed to an individual or job title such as "Commander," "Commanding Officer," etc."
All of our addresses belong to real Marines
with the addition of an attention line, which is completely legal. The real Marine
is aware of and volunteered for this program, and uses the attention line as notification of what the package is for.
Some postal clerks get confused by this so we suggest to avoid any arguments you simply draw a line through the attention line. The Marine
will see this and appreciate your valor at the post office and he/she will still know what to do. We don't advocate getting into an argument with anyone.
For the record, we do not dislike Postal Clerks. May we go on record as congratulating all the folks at the LaPlata, Maryland and Hoagland, Indiana Post Offices. Not only have they all been extremely kind, helpful and informative, they must be among the most fit bunch of folks around with all they have handled from the Any Soldier Inc. effort!
For a printable version of "Note#2" click HERE, print it and take to the postal clerks who don't have a clue.
(Click HERE to return to top of page)