Working overseas is undoubtedly one of the most challenging jobs our military has to do right now. Letter writing to soldiers stationed overseas can significantly boost their morale during their time there.
When civilians send letters to soldiers on a military base, it is sure to bring a smile when the letters arrive in mailbags. In this article, we'll walk you through some options for getting mail to our troops.
Ways Of Sending Letters To Soldiers Abroad
The only postal service authorized by law to deliver mail to military bases both at home and overseas is the United States Postal Service (USPS). Using Military Mail, a civilian can send mail to a military member stationed overseas without paying extra postage.
Through this program, military members who are overseas can send free mail to other military members who are also overseas. Packages can be sent by Military Mail to Army Post Offices (APOs) for Army and Air Force personnel and Fleet Post Offices (FPOs) for Navy personnel and missions at sea.
You can use only military mail to ship to an APO or FPO. UPS, FedEx, and other shippers cannot deliver packages to this USPS subsidiary. Military Mail packages can't have perishable items, alcohol, guns, or explosives, and they can't weigh more than 70 pounds. Specific APO/FPO addresses are subject to additional restrictions.
The arrival time of military mail packages depends on their final destination. Priority Mail and First-Class Mail packages usually arrive in 10 to 15 business days. Priority Mail Express takes three to five business days and is only available to certain places. Parcel Select Ground takes about twenty-four business days.
With the US Postal Service, you can send a letter to an army facility halfway around the globe for the exact cost of a local letter; therefore, using the service will save you money. (The U.S. Postal Service only offers domestic rates for military mail.) Therefore, using the service will save you money.
Tips To Observe When Sending A Letter Via USPS
Use a local address
The letter should be handled as local mail, not foreign mail. If you are mailing a letter, you should use a regular first-class stamp and address the envelope as if it is being sent within the United States. For example, do not write "Yemen" on the envelope, even if the recipient soldier is stationed in that country.
The envelope should appear identical to any letter addressed to a US recipient. The return address should be in the upper-left corner, the postage in the upper-right corner, and the recipient's address in the center. Clearly label the envelope. The USPS prefers all capital letters.
Use this format for the Army and Air Force
Address and deliver the letter to Army and Air Force soldiers via "APO." If you are writing to a stationed member of the US Air Force or Army, include their full name on the first line, followed by their unit (or PSC) number, including their box number, on the following line.
The last line will contain "APO" plus "AA," "AP," or "AE" and the ZIP (Zone Improvement Plan) code for their deployment on Line 3. Typically, the address should appear this way:
First Line: Luke Gray (There is no need to include rank.)
Second Line (Army): Box Number and Unit Number.
Second Line (Air Force): Box Number and PSC Number
Third Line: APO, AA, and ZIP (Zone Improvement Plan) code. (Use "AA" if they're stationed in America, "AE" if stationed in Europe, and "AP" if in the Pacific.)
Please note: The unit/PSC number, box number, and ZIP code will vary based on the service member's deployment.
Use this format for the Navy and Marine Corps
Address and deliver the letter by "FPO" to Navy or Marine personnel. If the recipient is stationed in the Navy or Marines, their name goes on the address line on the first line, their unit and box (or ship and hull) numbers go on the second line, and "FPO" followed by "AA," "AE," or "AP," and the deployment ZIP code goes on the address line on the last line. The following is a sample of a draft:
First Line: Luke Gray (There is no need to include rank.)
Second Line (Navy): Box Number and Unit Number.
Second Line (Marine): Ship Number and Hull Number
Third Line: APO AA plus ZIP code. (Use "AA" if they're stationed in the Americas, "AE" if in Europe, and "AP" if in the Pacific.)
Different deployments have different unit and box (or ship and hull) numbers and ZIP codes.
Military Pen Pal Services
Here are several excellent websites that facilitate correspondence with soldiers.
Operation Gratitude is a group that provides care packages to the military, including both recruits and veterans. These shipments contain snacks, clothing, toys, and other goods that soldiers appreciate. In addition, you can also send encouraging letters to the soldiers through them.
Forgotten Soldiers Outreach
This site makes it easier to email a soldier than to write an actual letter. It has a simple form that you fill out with your first name, state, country, email address, and message. Once you've sent your message, Forgotten Soldiers Outreach will print it and put it in packages sent to soldiers. This makes it a terrific method to let a service member know you're thinking of them without sending a letter or parcel overseas.
AnySoldier is one of the most important online resources for writing letters to soldiers. The site works with people in the military who are stationed overseas and act as ambassadors for their fellow service members. When you send letters (and packages, if you so choose), they are distributed to soldiers who have not received any other correspondence.
You can find the location of any soldier on the left side of the page. The site is relatively easy to find your way around. The Send page lists troop contacts ordered by the date of their last communication.
Click on one to get details about it, including where it is stationed and how many male and female soldiers it represents. If you choose to sponsor the soldier, you can obtain their exact address from the page.
Before putting together a support package, look at the Frequently Asked Questions page to figure out what goods to send and find answers to your other questions. This business focuses on writing letters to soldiers in basic training. A touch of current technology is added to make it stand out.
You can use Sandboxx to write a letter on your phone or computer and, if you want, add a picture. The service then delivers the letter to the candidate the next day. It looks very nice because it comes in a high-quality airmail envelope and on high-quality paper.
Every letter is trackable, so you will always know when your message reaches its destination. They can respond with the unique stationery and return envelope included. This removes the need to go to your local post office, buy stamps, and find out where soldiers live.
Due to all of its features, this service is not free. Sending a single letter through Sandboxx costs $4, but you can save money by ordering numerous letters at once. For instance, $60 will purchase 20 letters, reducing the cost to $3 per letter.
Soldiers' Angels is an excellent place to look if you want to write letters to soldiers for a long time. The letter-writing squad is part of the organization's commitment to supporting the troops.
Soldiers' Angels requires a three-month commitment with a monthly contribution of one article. Naturally, you can write more if you choose. Check out their information page if you're interested in joining.
This includes essential details about the project, like the fact that you don't get to choose where to deliver letters to soldiers. The organization determines whom you will support. You also have to give a monthly report of your activities.
Why Should I Send Letters To Soldiers Abroad?
Our warriors are reminded of what awaits them back home through letters and care packages from home. A word of encouragement can give them the nudge they may need to keep going and finish the task.
Reminiscences of home
Many troops have no one who writes to them and has a limited understanding of American news and popular culture. By writing letters of encouragement, you offer a touch of home to their corner of the world.
Everyone needs friends, and writing communications with a deployed military member helps establish friendships. If you've been deployed, you can understand how hard it is for your pen pal and help them.
You can learn about living in a combat zone if you have never been deployed. Focus on what you can offer while establishing a friendship with an overseas military member. If you ask for too many private or personal details, you may invade your pen pal's privacy, making them less likely to write letters to you.
Talk To Your Local Mail Forwarding Service Provider
One of the most extraordinary sacrifices made by our men and women stationed in the armed forces is sacrificing their safety and lives through their service abroad. These people are often exposed to harsh living conditions, which can even harm their health. One of the ways we can keep them going is through our support via mail and prayers.
As patriotic citizens, we can take time to write them some words of encouragement to keep them going. Suppose you want to send mail to any of them via USPS. You can use mail forwarding service providers or your local post office to get discounts on priority military mail and other related services.
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