RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – Sending a package to a foreign country takes extra time, and the deadlines are fast approaching. And for the men and women of our military, making that deadline, can make all the difference this holiday season.
Whether you're sending a gift to a military base or a civilian overseas, the same basic rules apply.
"It's very important to make sure that you pack it right, pack it securely, address it correctly, and get it in on time," said Cathy Boule, U.S. Postal Service.
The most common mistake according to Cathy Boule is an incorrect or incomplete address. For an American serviceman deployed in Iraq or Afghanistan, that kind of error could delay an eagerly awaited holiday package. Sgt. First Class Cecil Cousins spent most of 2006 in Iraq.
"I spent my first anniversary there, and most of the major holidays- Christmas, Thanksgiving," said Cecil.
He knows how important mail and gifts from home can be to a soldier overseas.
"It's always tough to be away from you family during the holiday and getting that package can definitely make or break your holiday," he said.
So it's important to pay attention to shipping deadlines and restrictions on what you can send. Packages for some military destinations have to be received by next Friday, December fourth. And for any shipment across borders, you'll need to fill out a customs form. Make sure to list everything you're packing.
"It'll help the postal employee if there's something that's going to be prohibited, it will help them catch it before it leaves," Boule said.
If you do everything right, you could help a soldier have a happy holiday mail-call.
"It's always welcome. Always welcome. You look forward to hearing your name called," Cecil said.
If you'd like more information on overseas military shipping, including restrictions and deadlines, we've provided a link to the U.S. Postal Service, just click here.