The Army’s 3rd Personnel Command, which manages postal operations in the Operation Iraqi Freedom theater, has issued guidance to redeploying troops about redirecting their mail for a smooth, timely transition to their new addresses. Affected are some 130,000 service members and pieces of equipment numbering in the tens of thousands in Iraq. The same standards will apply to deploying service members entering the OIF theater, which will include 110,000 soldiers and Marines, along with fresh equipment. Officials provided the following guidance:


Service members should complete change-of-address cards for the servicing mail clerk and for the servicing Army Post Office.


Members should notify correspondents to stop sending mail into the theater at least 15 days, and preferably 30 days, before their units move from base camps to their redeployment sites.


No mail will be delivered at redeployment sites, but outgoing mail will be accepted.


Unit commanders should inform home-station mail rooms when to stop forwarding mail to the theater APO and start holding it for returning service members.


Unit mail clerks in theater will provide the supporting theater APO with the unit’s forwarding home address.


Mail will be forwarded for 60 days by either the APO or a forward mail clerk, ideally, 30 days before the individual’s redeployment date and 30 days after. After 60 days, it will either be returned to sender or disposed of in accordance with the DoD Postal Manual.


Members mailing items from the theater before redeploying should mark parcels and letters “MPS” for free delivery of nonvaluable items. Valuable items should be insured or registered.


The maximum size for packages is 70 pounds and 138 inches in combined length and girth.


When mailing to an APO address, the country name should not be used in the address.


Service members with questions should contact their unit mail clerk, their servicing APO or the 3rd PERSCOM Postal Operations Directorate at DSN 318-825-1208.