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Deadlines near for timely delivery of holiday packages

Kenneth Collins (left), United States Postal Services sales and services associate, receives a package from Joe Beach, 502nd Air Base Wing Public Affairs graphic artist, Nov. 15 at the Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph Post Office. The holiday rush at U.S. Postal Service locations is near at hand, so it’s advisable for the families of active-duty members who are serving abroad to mail cards, letters and packages to their loved ones as soon as possible.

Kenneth Collins (left), United States Postal Services sales and services associate, receives a package from Joe Beach, 502nd Air Base Wing Public Affairs graphic artist, Nov. 15 at the Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph Post Office. The holiday rush at U.S. Postal Service locations is near at hand, so it’s advisable for the families of active-duty members who are serving abroad to mail cards, letters and packages to their loved ones as soon as possible.

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas -- The holiday rush at U.S. Postal Service locations is near at hand, so it’s advisable for the families of active-duty members who are serving abroad to mail cards, letters and packages to their loved ones as soon as possible.

For the timely delivery of priority and first-class mail by Christmas Day, the USPS recommends mailing cards, letters and packages to Air/Army Post Office, Fleet Post Office and Diplomatic Post Office ZIP codes in the Middle East no later than Dec. 2 and to other APO/FPO/DPO ZIP codes no later than Dec. 9.

“Mail early,” said Jeff Sanna, USPS sales and services associate at the Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph postal facility. “You can also expect long lines, so use patience and judgment.”

The Postal Service will meet the holiday rush by expanding delivery days, Sanna said.

“USPS will be delivering mail seven days a week, possibly starting the week after Thanksgiving,” he said.

For packages sent to military members serving overseas, the Postal Service offers a discounted postal cost of $16.75 on its largest priority mail flat-rate box. The price includes a $2 per box discount for mail sent to APO, FPO and DPO destinations worldwide. Priority mail flat-rate boxes are available at no cost at post offices and online at shop.usps.com.

Military care kits, which are based on items most frequently requested by military families, are available by calling 800-610-8734. The kit includes two priority mail APO/FPO/DPO flat-rate boxes, two priority mail medium flat-rate boxes, priority mail tape, priority mail address labels and appropriate customs forms.

The USPS advises special care in sending packages to APO and FPO addresses. The service member’s full name should be included in the address, along with the unit, APO/FPO address and nine-digit ZIP code, but not the country’s name. A return address is required.
For domestic delivery of cards, letters and packages by Dec. 25, mail-by dates are Dec. 15 for USPS retail ground, Dec. 20 for first-class mail, Dec. 21 for priority mail and Dec. 23 for priority mail express.

Hours at JBSA USPS locations are 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday and 9 a.m. to noon Saturday at JBSA-Fort Sam Houston, 1804 Stanley Road; 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday and 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at JBSA-Lackland, 2261 Hughes Ave.; and 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday-Friday at JBSA-Randolph, 355 B Street West, Suite 3.

Sanna also advised postal customers to have their documentation for overseas packages ready by the time they reach the counter in the post office.

“No matter how long the lines are, we’ll serve the last customer who’s in line by closing time,” he said.