Postal Service Tips for Deployment Mail
Story by: DEP MOB Staff
How long does it take to send mail or a package to Iraq or Afghanistan?
Between 7 and 20 days, with 2 weeks being about average. During holidays, count on it taking 3 weeks to arrive in Iraq or Afghanistan.
Do I have to address a package to a specific Soldier?
Yes, the Department of Defense mandates that all mail and packages must be addressed to an individual Soldier, not to "Any Soldier" or "Any Serviceperson".
How large a package can I send to Iraq/Afghanistan?
Your package can not be more than 84 inches long or be more than 130 inches when you total up the length (the longest side) plus the girth (thickest portion), or weigh more than 70 lbs.
What forms do I need to fill out when sending a package to Iraq/Afghanistan?
For all parcel packages, you need to fill out the proper Customs Form. Be sure and fill out the form accurately as contents are scanned. Here are the regulations:
Letters and cards less than 16 ounces - no form needed
Packages less than 16 ounces and less than $400 value - Form 2976
All mail greater than 16 ounces - Form 2976-A with 2976-E mailer envelope.
How do I get free shipping boxes from the Post Office?
Call 1-800-610-8734, select option 1 (Express Mail, Priority Mail or Global Express) and ask the service agent for the Military Kit (or Care Kit 4). The local Post Office will also have these on hand if you want to pick them up locally.
What not to Send a Soldier in Iraq or Afghanistan
Prohibited items that will be confiscated:
Please do not send the following items to a soldier in Iraq or Afghanistan. Packages are scanned and these items will be confiscated:
Alcohol and alcohol-production products and ingredients (R, R1)
Fruits, live plants and animals (M)
Pork and pork by-products (H1)
Pornographic and sexual materials (including nudes and semi-nudes) (E2)
Obscene materials and horror comics (C1)
Non-authorized political materials (E2)
Religious materials contrary to Islam in bulk quantities (E2)
Firearms and ammunition (F)
Cash, coins, securities or precious metals in their raw state (A)
Hazardous, flammable, toxic and radioactive substances
Tip: Don't use packing boxes that are labeled with a prohibited substance.
Items that may melt, leak, explode or turn on
Use common sense and realize that packages can be subjected to high heat and bouncing around. Use Ziploc bags and lots of padding where applicable:
Batteries in summer
Aerosols and other pressurized products
Liquids in glass containers
Perishable food products that can spoil
Electronic devices with batteries installed
Items that are easily found at a base PX (AAFES)
Most Army bases in Iraq/Afghanistan now have well-stocked provisions at the AAFES stores. The following items are easily obtained, so send only if a favorite brand is unavailable:
Cookies, candies, snack foods and beverages
Toiletries & personal hygiene products
Small electrical appliances
Personal electronic products and batteries
CDs, DVDs, magazines, books
Tip: Don't send food and scented products together. Several weeks in transit at 120°F+ temperatures will result in deodorant-flavored cookies.