SEOUL — Letters and care packages to South Korean soldiers in Iraq have been hitching a ride with the U.S. Postal Service for the past five months in a joint effort to help troops get mail from home during their yearlong deployment, according to U.S. military officials.

Since August, the U.S. Army and Air Force have flown more than 22,000 pounds of mail to the South Korean soldiers, according to Anthony S. Cuccia, the postal operations officer at Gimpo International Airport in Seoul. The arrangement came about after South Korean officials asked for help in delivering mail to their troops, he said.

The South Korean government pays $14.86 for each pound sent to Iraq, and $16.05 for each pound that comes into South Korea, according to Cuccia. Rates are based on the costs of shipping and other factors, he said.

On Thursday, 461 pounds of mail bound for South Korean troops arrived at Gimpo. Each bag was tagged with an English-language label designating the mail for South Korean soldiers in Iraq.

“Anybody in our system knows that this mail is going to Korean soldiers in Irbil,” Cuccia said.

From Gimpo, the mailbags are flown to Kuwait City, where a small contingent of South Korean marines are stationed. Those marines take over the delivery duties, flying the mail to the soldiers in Irbil, Cuccia said.

South Korea has about 3,600 troops inside Iraq, the third-largest contingent in the U.S.-led invasion, according to an Associated Press report. Late last year, South Korean lawmakers approved renewing that commitment for another 12 months.

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