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Deadlines nearing for troops’ packages

Make plans to get to the Post Office before the weekend to make sure your holiday package arrives to a U.S. soldier.

The deadlines are important because, at least for soldiers, who say that mail still matters, said Staff Sgt. Anthony Harrison with Andalusia’s 1-117th Field Artillery Battalion.

The first deadline for making sure Christmas mail and packages arrive on time at military and State Department post offices around the world is Saturday.

Harrison, who was deployed for an 11-month stint in Al Taji, Iraq, said mail was the highpoint of any day.

“It was a touch from home that everyone looked forward to,” Harrison said. “I did spend a Christmas overseas. It was difficult because I had kids back here, but I sent them Christmas cards that we could get there, and we had Christmas when I got home – but mail that was the highpoint of the day.”

There are only a few weeks left to mail those packages or cards and be sure they’ll arrive before Christmas, according to the U.S. Postal Service and the Military Postal Service Agency. The deadlines are:

• Nov. 12 for parcel post mail.

• Nov. 26 for space-available mail.

• Dec. 3 for parcel airlift mail.

• Dec. 10 for priority mail and first-class mail, letters and cards.

• Dec. 17 for express mail military service.

But that’s assuming there are no problems or delays. Anyone sending items to troops overseas – and particularly to those in combat zones – needs to beat the deadlines.

“Express Mail Military Service is not available for holiday packages and mail going to Iraq and Afghanistan,” said Faye Slater, deputy director of the Military Postal Service Agency.