News: Mail gifts, cards now for timely holiday arrival
Story by Sgt. 1st Class Erick Studenicka
KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan – In order to avoid any Bah Humbug feeling of disappointment at Christmas, troops and civilians in southern Afghanistan should mail holiday gifts and cards as soon as possible to ensure timely delivery and avoid unnecessary postage, a military postal official said Nov. 10.
According to Sgt. 1st Class Janine Goolsby, the Kandahar Airfield Post Office’s noncommissioned officer in charge of postal services, the least expensive way to ship packages to the United States is via space available mail. SAM also requires the most time to reach its destination, however, so Goolsby recommends senders get to the post office as quickly as possible.
“Space available mail is truly snail mail,” Goolsby said. “People aiming to use SAM should be mailing their packages now. They are risking a late delivery if they wait until late November.”
SAM rates vary and are based on weight and destination. All troops and civilians with postal privileges may use SAM.
Goolsby, from the 18th Human Resources Company headquartered at Fort Bragg, N.C., said troops and civilians can mail holiday greeting cards weighing up to one ounce for free by writing “Free Mail” in the upper right-hand corner of the card’s envelope. For timely delivery of Christmas greetings, cards should be at the post office by Dec. 1.
Packages stamped with traditional postage, including flat-rate priority boxes, should be mailed by Dec. 10 in order to reach U.S. destinations by Dec. 25. Regardless of size, all boxes must be examined by postal officials before being sealed.
Any type of clean, cardboard box may be used as a container. Any previous address or bar code on the box must be stricken. Postal clerks will supply packing tape.
Goolsby, of Atlanta, said the best time to visit the post office is in the morning from 9-11 a.m. The longest lines tend to occur from about 1-4 p.m. She also recommended patrons purchase insurance on all mailed packages in order to receive a tracking number and future compensation for any lost or damaged articles.
Goolsby warned U.S. troops and civilians to avoid receiving or mailing packages and letters on behalf of non-U.S. troops and civilians. It is a federal offense for U.S. citizens with postal privileges to use those privileges on behalf of non-U.S. citizens. Non-U.S. citizens should use KAF’s Federal Express and DHL Express offices for their holiday shipments.
Finally, Goolsby emphasized one important word for KAF residents to remember at the post office this holiday season.
“Patience, patience, patience,” she said.