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Staff Sgt. Jesse Castano, a postal supervisor assigned to the 374th Force Support Squadron, registers a package into the postal system at Yokota Air Base, Japan, in 2020. The military postal service rescinded an announcement it made last month that it would halt services for overseas retirees and others starting in August.

Staff Sgt. Jesse Castano, a postal supervisor assigned to the 374th Force Support Squadron, registers a package into the postal system at Yokota Air Base, Japan, in 2020. The military postal service rescinded an announcement it made last month that it would halt services for overseas retirees and others starting in August. (Kyle Johnson/U.S. Air Force)

KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany — Military retirees living overseas may continue using their APO and FPO addresses for at least a little longer, following the Military Postal Service Agency’s decision to halt a move that would have taken away their mailboxes next month.

The postal agency rescinded an announcement it made in June, saying it would end services for certain categories of customers beginning Aug. 24, Installation Management Command-Europe said Thursday.

Another announcement about authorized customers is expected within the next six months, IMCOM-Europe spokesman Mark Heeter said, citing information given to his office by the Military Postal Service Agency, which is an extension of the U.S. Postal Service.

Until then, current customers can use services as normal, Heeter said, adding that no additional information about the pause was given.

The Military Postal Service Agency did not immediately reply to questions Thursday.

The Defense Department in May directed the Military Postal Service Agency to end services for many customers after a review found they were “not authorized by law” for overseas delivery by the agency, the Office of the Secretary of Defense said last month.

The Pentagon did not specify who was improperly benefiting from the service. However, the postal superintendent at Camp Humphreys in South Korea, James Goff, told Stars and Stripes that overseas military retirees and Red Cross workers would be among those affected by the change.

Tens of thousands of U.S. military retirees lived overseas as of 2020, according to a DOD retirement report in 2021. Roughly 12,500 retirees live in the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico. Germany hosts 7,366 retirees, followed by 3,354 in the Philippines. Japan and South Korea have 3,196 and 1,677 retirees, respectively.

The military postal system delivers mail and packages overseas to service members, DOD civilians, contractors and their families, while charging domestic postal rates.

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Phillip is a reporter and photographer for Stars and Stripes, based in Kaiserslautern, Germany. From 2016 to 2021, he covered the war in Afghanistan from Stripes’ Kabul bureau. He is a graduate of the London School of Economics.
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