How to Send Parcels to the Forces Overseas

Written by matt macdonald
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How to Send Parcels to the Forces Overseas
You can send packages to armed forces overseas by paying only domestic part of the delivery charges. (build the soldier image by Aliaksandr Zabudzko from

Those in the armed forces overseas always look forward to packages sent by loved ones back home. The federal government subsidises the postage an individual pays to send mail to troops, as the sender is only charged for the domestic portion of the delivery costs. The Department of Defense takes care of transporting the mail from the United States to the oversees troops.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Parcel
  • Packaging tape
  • Postage
  • Recipient's address

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  1. 1

    Use the service member's full name in addressing the parcel, as all mail must be addressed to a specific person. Include the unit and APO/FPO (Air/Army Post Office or Fleet Post Office) address with the nine-digit Postcode if one has been assigned. Include a return address. Print the recipient's address in the lower right portion or use a postage-paid label from the United States Postal Service.

  2. 2

    Be aware of restrictions that may be imposed. Packages sent to those in the region of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom should generally not contain obscene articles, horror comics, depictions of nude or seminude persons, non-authorised political materials, bulk quantities of religious materials contrary to the Islamic faith (items that fit this description and are for personal use of the addressee are permissible) or pork or pork by-products.

  3. 3

    Ensure that the contents of the parcel can withstand 100-degree temperatures if it will be sent to a desert climate. Select a strong box with room for cushioning to place around the items contained within the box. Make sure there is enough cushioning so that no items shift when the box is shook.

  4. 4

    Tape the opening of the box and reinforce all seams with two-inch wide tape. Use clear or brown packaging tape, reinforced packaging tape or paper tape. Do not use cord, string or twine.

  5. 5

    Include a card describing the contents so that any items that may have fallen apart during shipment may be collected.

Tips and warnings

  • To ensure delivery of holiday cards and packages by December 25 to military addresses overseas, the Postal Service recommends they be sent well in advance of that date. Specific timelines vary depending on the type of postage used and where it is going.
  • The United States Postal Service offers Military Care Kits free of charge and designed specifically for military families sending packages overseas. These may be requested by calling 800-610-8734. Each kit includes two Priority Mail Flat Rate boxes, four medium-sized Priority Mail Flat Rate boxes, six Priority Mail labels, one roll of Priority Mail tape and six customs forms with envelopes.
  • Battery-powered items should have accompanied batteries removed, wrapped and packaged separately.

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