The United States Postal Service announced their holiday deadlines for sending packages to overseas troops. If you want packages to reach your soldier in time for the holiday, be sure to adhere to the deadlines. Mail is very slow to overseas locations during the holiday season and it can take longer than normal to get there.
Holiday packages and mail headed for Afghanistan must be sent a week earlier than other deadlines. Express mail military service is not available to those destinations.
Priority Mail Deadlines and Destination Zip Codes :
- December 03 – APO / FPO / DPO AE (Afghanistan) ZIP 093
- December 10 – APO / FPO / DPO AE (all others) ZIPs 090-092, 094-098, 340, 962-966
Our troops need your support, especially around the holidays! Send some cheer to a soldier!
Don’t forget to order your Military Care Kit! Each kit contains six Priority Mail Flat Rate boxes (two large and four medium-sized boxes), six customs forms and envelopes, six Priority address labels and one role of military tape. Order your kit by calling the USPS Expedited Package Supply Center at 1-800-610-8734.
The hot weather in Afghanistan and Iraq is winding down and the freezing cold is ready to settle in. In Afghanistan, winter sets in near the end of November and snow is common across much of the country. Winter is harsh across the country with temperatures going below zero. Spring starts again in March.
The climate in Afghanistan varies according to altitude, due to the height and location of any particular area. Temperatures in the north can be below freezing for most of the winter, and snow in the higher elevations is common.
These same tips apply for Iraq where winter temperatures are below freezing.
Pack your care packages accordingly when the weather is freezing. Here are a few tips for care package items to help Soldiers get through the freezing winter.
- Warm blankets
- Black thermal under garments
- Black stocking caps
- Gloves (mechanics gloves so they can operate their weapons),
- Soup packets
- Hot cocoa packets
- Tea bags
- Hand warmers
- Medicated lip balm (Carmex is good!)
- Cough drops
- Long sleeve t-shirts (Under Armour)
- Instant coffee
- Flannel sheets
- Long underwear
- Wool socks
- Fleece or other warm blankets
Note - Request your FREE USPS Military Care package kit (shipping supplies) by calling 1-800-610-8734.
If you have more tips, please comment!
Almost no rain falls from June to October. The lower parts of the country have a semi-arid or desert climate. Summers are sunny and hot, except in the higher mountains. Sunshine amounts range from six to seven hours a day in winter to as much as twelve to thirteen in summer.
These same tips apply for Iraq where summer temperatures exceed 120 degrees F.
With that in mind, pack your care packages accordingly when the weather is super hot. Here are a few tips for packing care packages for the unbearably hot weather!
- Anything that will keep our soldiers cooler
- Battery operated fan
- Under Amour socks (or something similar) – Accelerated moisture release (mesh vents) help to filter moisture to outside of sock to keep feet cool and dry.
- Other Under Amour garments -a spandex-like brand of synthetic underwear, socks and T-shirts designed to keep wearers cool
- Shorts and tank tops to wear while sleeping
- Baby powder – belts and hot weather can causes rashes at the waistline
- Dr. Scholls foot powder
- Sun block
- Blister pack gum – gum can stick to the foil wrappers in hot weather
- Hand cream for dry skin
- Cool tie neck bands – helpful if your soldier has a cold place like a fridge or ice chest to store it prior to wearing
- Water balloons to use for fun and as a stress reliever.
- Tootsie rolls don’t melt
- Items MUST hold up in 120 degree + temperatures!
- NO chocolate – including chocolate covered items
- NO Flea Collars! Some soldiers were using them (on their boots) to ward off sand fleas and ticks and getting sick from the pesticides mixed in with the hot sticky weather.
- Stick deodorant or lip balm MAY melt before reaching their destination (send a bunch in the cool weather)
- Bar soap and other toiletries with scent in same box – when possible, send these items in a separate box. If not, be sure to place these in double zip-locked bags or the food in the box will taste like deodorant or soap.
Note – Request your FREE USPS Military Care package kit (shipping supplies) by calling 1-800-610-8734.
If you have more tips, please comment!
I was walking at the beach one day, not far from where my son lived before joining the Army. He loved being near the ocean and I was thinking of him that day. So I stopped in the store and picked up a postcard and addressed it with a quick note to let him know I was at his old stomping grounds — far from the cold, landlocked, and mountainous Afghanistan that he now calls home. Fortunately I always carry stamps so I then mailed it at the post office just a block from the beach.
A few days later, I found myself wandering another beach with a friend. I was drawn again to the postcards and got one with a beautiful ocean scene, scribbled a quick greeting to my son, and dropped it in the mailbox nearby.
I repeated this several more times, even mailing one on my way to work one day. I didn’t hear anything about the postcards from my son. A few weeks went by and I asked during an Internet chat one day if he got a postcard from me.
He responded, “Yes! I love getting all the postcards. I hang them on the wall! Thank you!”
I then enlisted the help of a few friends around the country. I asked each person if they could just pick up a postcard from their city the next time they were out and mail it to my son with a brief note about the weather or anything happening that day. They agreed.
Postcards cost 30 – 50 cents and are a quick, easy way to let my deployed soldier son know I am thinking of him at a given moment in time. It’s different then a care package. It’s a little slice of home that brightens my son’s day from a 1/2 world away.
Next time you are out and about, pick up a postcard and send it your deployed son or daughter. I am sure they will appreciate a little slice of home!
Since Priority Mail® supplies are the packaging of choice for families and friends preparing care packages for service members overseas, the post office has created a “Mili-kit” based on the items most frequently requested by the military. This kit is available for free to military families.
The contents of the kit change from time to time. Right now, each kit contains:
- 2 large priority mail flat-rate boxes
- 2 medium priority mail flat-rate boxes
- 2 medium shirt box priority mail flat-rate boxes
- 6 priority mail labels
- 1 roll priority mail tape (yay!)
- 6 customs forms and envelopes.
Request your FREE Military Care package kit by calling 1-800-610-8734. Select your language (1 is English, 2 is Spanish). Select option 1 (it states it is for Express Mail®, Priority Mail or Global Express Guaranteed® products).
When you reach a live agent, request CAREKIT04, the “Military Kit. Allow 7-10 days for delivery. You can request up to 4 kits.
You will also be issued a customer ID number to make it easier for you to reorder supplies next time.
YOU CANNOT ORDER THIS KIT ONLINE – This Military kit is only available via the phone number.
Mail sent to APO and FPO addresses overseas require special customs forms. All mail addressed to military post offices overseas is subject to certain conditions or restrictions regarding content, preparation and handling.
The cost to mail the large flat-rate box to APO/FPO is $12.50.
Here is a list of stuff that I sent to my son in Afghanistan. Some of these items were requested and others I just sent because I wanted to. Would love to hear about what you pack in your care packages too!
Afghanistan is an extremely mountainous country with rugged terrain and harsh climate. It’s especially cold right now and even colder at 8,000 feet elevation. Thus, the cold weather items!
Practical items for the cold weather:
- Cabela wool boot socks and liners: my son loved these. His feet stay super warm now. This is an extra-heavyweight stretch boot sock made of 50% Merino wool/30% wool/10% nylon/9% acrylic/1% lycra® spandex. The liners are great for maximum wicking. Shipped direct from Cabela – fast.
- Cabela’s Polar Expedition-Weight Polartec® Power Dry Crew and bottoms: wear under clothing. Very warm and effective at wicking moisture away from the skin. They were on sale!
- Flannel bed sheets: was very happy to receive these. Target has great prices.
- Warm comforter (got it half price). Shipped direct from Sears – fast. He loves this too!
- Books: my son made a wish list of books on Amazon.com. Then anyone can buy a book and mark it off the list. You do not have to buy the book at Amazon to mark it as purchased.
- Snap lid plastic food containers: You cannot keep food around in B-huts living quarters due to little critters that also want the food. Air tight food containers work well.
- Shaker cup and protein powder
- Movie on DVD
- Bath towel (super deal at Costco)
- SD card for the digital camera (still waiting for him to send me the pictures!)
- Cat food: the cutest little kittens have taken up residence in a nearby B-hut. Mom and Dad are kicking them out of the nest.
- Wartime prayer book: my parents neighbors sent this thoughtful book.
- Dunkin donuts ground coffee
- Instant coffee
- Lots of stuff from Trader Joe’s
- Granola bars, protein bars, and other healthy bars
- Individual snack bags of mixed nuts, sunflower seeds, trail mix, peanut butter crackers, almonds.
- Sunflower seeds (shelled)
- Jif To Go packs: Jiffy peanut butter in individual cups – sold in 6 packs.
- Organic applesauce individual cups
- BUMBLE BEE® Chicken Salad with Crackers: Mixed and ready to eat.
- Chunk white chicken in 7 oz. foil pouches.
- Travel size packs of tissue: these are great to fill in the gaps in the box and useful on the other end.
- Zip lock bags: put the small items in zip lock bags which are always useful for soldiers.
- Wheat crackers
- Dr. Bronners bar soap: we are fans of Dr. Bronner’s soaps. They are high quality, versatile, and eco-friendly.
- Plastic forks
- Chocolate covered expresso beans
- P90X Protein Bars
- Natural turkey and beef jerky
- Lots of cans of chunky soup
- Trader Joe chile with beef or turkey
- Shakeology superfood health shake packets
- Lip balm
- Baby wipes
- Roll of soft toilet paper
- Notebook paper and envelopes
- Over the door coat hooks
- 5 x7 pictures of his family with a frame
- Postcard from the beach
- Airborne effervescent
What’s in your soldier’s care package? Leave a comment!
While her son has been deployed to Afghanistan, one Army Mom created a cause called “Operation Hooah!” Operation Hooah! sends care packages to soldiers deployed to the Forwarding Operating Bases (FOB) in the rugged outer reaches of Afghanistan, where they have no access to facilities.
Here’s the cool part: for the past year, every package sent through Operation Hooah was personally delivered by her son, an Army Chinook pilot. He ensured that every package got delivered. She is hoping to continue these package deliveries when his deployment ends, but will need pilots to be Santa Claus(s) for Operation Hooah.
And, getting those packages and flying them out truly enriched her son’s time in Afghanistan. As you can imagine, he was a pretty popular guy with the soldiers out there.
Thousands of brave soldiers are deployed to FOBs in rugged conditions. Some in remote outposts live in dugouts or hand built fort-like structures of timber and rock/mud sandbags. In the WINTER, it is very cold and wet, and in SUMMER it is beastly hot, dusty and dry over there in Afghanistan. Soldiers deployed to outposts and firebases are often dirty, hungry, bored, lonely, very cold, or miserably hot, and much of the time, in harm’s way. Many do not have any laundry facilities; the only water is what the Chinooks can deliver, so some only get a shower once a month. Often, sanitary conditions are quite dispiriting. Though the platoon FOBs and outposts are resupplied by helicopter, it is no small task to keep them completely supplied and able to function and keep morale high when their surroundings are unsanitary, crude, hostile… and… WAY in the HECK out in the wilderness so far away from comfort, safety, and loved ones!
What an awesome job Operation Hooah is doing! There are 2 simple ways that you can help. Visit Operation Hooah! to find out how you can help! – http://www.operationhooah.com/