(Click here for a graphic summarizing the mail deadlines.)

With the holidays fast approaching, the Defense Department has released recommended mailing dates to ensure troops at overseas locations get cards and packages on time.

“To ensure delivery … to military APO/FPO addresses overseas and to international addresses, we suggest mail be sent by the recommended dates provided by the U.S. Postal Service,” stated Mark DeDomenic, the assistant deputy director and chief of operations for the Military Postal Service Agency (MPSA) in Washington.

A DOD news release also provided additional guidance for mailing to overseas addresses, including:

¶ Use the addressee’s full name (with or without rank), unit and APO/FPO addresses with nine-digit ZIP code and a return address. When sending boxes, print the address information on only one side of the box, with the recipient’s address in the lower right side.

¶ Do not use boxes that have hazardous material markings, such as bleach, alcohol or cleaning fluids. The U.S. Postal Service will not process the boxes, regardless of what is listed on the customs form.

¶ When sending to the Central Command region, do not mail pork or pork byproducts; alcohol; anything depicting nude or semi-nude persons, pornographic or sexual items or unauthorized political materials. Religious materials contrary to the Islamic faith are prohibited in bulk quantities, but items for addresses’ personal use are allowed.

¶ Call your local postal office to ask about size restrictions and customs declaration form requirements for various locations.

¶ Delivery time varies depending on the category of mail and the destination. Delivery may be delayed when armed forces are on the move during periods of heightened activity.

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