The U.S. Postal Service said people cannot send packages through military mail addressed to soldiers in Saudi Arabia. Spokesman Azeezaly Jaffer said Friday the only mail accepted at military post offices (APO or FPO addresses) for those assigned to Operation Desert Shield will be first-class letters up to 12 ounces.
Heavier items or those that fail to pass Saudi Arabian customs will be returned, Jaffer said. If packages eventually are accepted, they may not contain alcoholic beverages or pork products, he said.
The Navy, meanwhile, has established an adopt-a-sailor program so Americans can write to naval and Marine personnel in the Persian Gulf that they do not know. The program is not intended for families of service personnel in the gulf.
The Defense Department ordered that all military mail be restricted to letters because of a priority on shipment of military supplies, Jaffer said. Mail to military post offices for soldiers serving abroad is sent at regular domestic mail rates.
Regular mail to Saudi Arabia or other Mideast addresses is not affected by the restrictions, Jaffer said.
The Pentagon has established special addresses for mail sent from the United States to U.S. soldiers, sailors and airmen in Saudi Arabia.
Mail for members of the Army, Air Force and Marine Corps may be directed to Operation Desert Shield, APO New York 09848-0006.
Mail for Navy and Marine Corps members on ships in the gulf region may be addressed to Operation Desert Shield, FPO New York 09866-0006.
Those who wish to show their support for Navy and Marine personnel in the adopt-a-sailor program can address letters to Any Servicemember, Operation Desert Shield, FPO New York 09866-0006.
"This allows a manageable way for people to be supportive," said Cmdr. Jim Mitchell, a Navy spokesman. "It's a real morale boost for the sailors and Marines. And this is a way to get mail to people who might not otherwise get it. Mail call is very important, and when you don't get it, it's pretty hard."
He said the program was established in response to requests from persons who want to support the troops but do not know anyone serving in the gulf.
Mail to individual Army members identified by name, rank and service number may be sent directly to an Army Post Office number set up for seven of the Army units in Saudi Arabia. They are:
The 101st Airborne Division: APO 09309.
The the 82nd Airborne Division: APO 09656.
The 24th Infantry Division:APO 09315.
The 1st Corps Support Command from Fort Bragg: APO 09657.
The 197th Infantry Brigade: APO 09315.
The 11th Air Defense Artillery Brigade: APO 09656.
The 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, APO 09209.