Holiday Mails Deadlines Approach ─ Don’t Miss the Boat! 

from October 2015: Pfc. Lucero Garcia, a native of Fort Worth, Texas, works hard and long hours as a frontline Soldier and still at the end of her shift is able to put on a smile. The mail Garcia received is spirit lifting and a welcomed sight from family members back home sending to their loved one. At the time of this photograph Garcia was deployed with Bravo Company, 949th Brigade Support Battalion, 10th Sustainment Brigade Troops Battalion, 10th Sustainment Brigade in support of Multi-National Division in Baghdad.

Thousands of men and women serving abroad in the nation’s Army, Navy, Marines and Air Force and in U.S. diplomatic service worldwide won’t be home for the holidays this year. The mail is a great way to stay connected with them by sending cards, letters, presents and “care packages” for the festive season.

The Postal Service offers a reduced price of $17.40 on its largest Priority Mail Flat Rate Box for mail sent to Air/Army Post Office (APO), Fleet Post Office (FPO) or Diplomatic Post Office (DPO) destinations worldwide — a $1.50 discount from the regular price.

Priority Mail Flat-Rate Boxes are available at no cost at local Post Offices and also can be ordered online. Postage, labels and customs forms also can be printed online anytime using Click-N-Ship. All mailing products can be found at

To ensure timely delivery of holiday wishes by Dec. 25, the Postal Service recommends that cards and packages be sent to military APO/FPO/DPO addresses overseas no later than the mailing dates listed below from a 2018 chart prepared for mailers by the USPS:


Military Mail Addressed 

To and From

Priority Mail Express Military Service (PMEMS)1 First-Class Mail




Priority Mail Parcel Airlift     Mail    (PAL)2 Space Available

Mail      (SAM)3

Retail Ground
APO/FPO/DPO AE ZIPs 090-092 Dec. 18 Dec. 11 Dec. 11 Dec. 4 Nov. 27 Nov. 6
APO/FPO/DPO AE ZIP   093 N/A Dec. 4 Dec. 4 Dec. 4 Nov. 27 Nov. 6
APO/FPO/DPO AE ZIPs 094-098 Dec. 18 Dec. 11 Dec. 11 Dec. 4 Nov. 27 Nov. 6
APO/FPO/DPO AA ZIP   340 Dec. 18 Dec. 11 Dec. 11 Dec. 4 Nov. 27 Nov. 6
APO/FPO/DPO AP ZIPs 962-966 Dec. 18 Dec. 11 Dec. 11 Dec. 4 Nov. 27 Nov. 6

1 PMEMS (Priority Mail Express Military Service) is available to selected military/diplomatic Post Offices. Check with your local Post Office to determine if this service is available to an APO/FPO/DPO address.

2 PAL (Parcel Airlift) is a service that provides air transportation for parcels on a space-available basis. PAL is available for Standard Post items not exceeding 30 pounds in weight or 60 inches in length and girth combined. The applicable PAL fee must be paid in addition to the regular surface price for each addressed piece sent by PAL service.

3 SAM (Space-Available Mail) parcels are paid at Standard Post prices with maximum weight and size limits of 15 pounds and 60 inches in length and girth combined. SAM parcels are first transported domestically by surface and then to overseas destinations by air on a space-available basis.

In general, the less expensive the delivery service, the slower it travels, and the slower it travels the earlier it needs to be posted to reach your loved ones in a timely fashion. Mail early to assure they’ll have your letter or parcel − and a big smile − on that special day!

Use Military Care Kits to Send Presents, Care Packages

The Postal Service also has created a free Military Care Kit based on the items most frequently requested by military families. The kit contains:

  • Two Priority Mail APO/FPO/DPO Flat Rate Boxes
  • Four Priority Mail Medium Flat Rate Boxes
  • Priority Mail tape
  • Priority Mail address labels
  • Appropriate customs forms

To order the kit, call 800-610-8734. Guidelines for packing, addressing and shipping items to U.S. troops can be found at To order flat-rate boxes featuring the “America Supports You” logo, go to

Package  Address Instructions

  • Write the service member’s full name
  • Include the unit and APO/FPO/DPO address with the 9-digit ZIP Code (if one is assigned). For example:

Army/Air Post Office (APO)

PSC 3 BOX 4120
APO AE 09021

Fleet Post Office (FPO)

UNIT 100100 BOX 4120
FPO AP 96691

Diplomatic Post Office (DPO)

UNIT 8400 BOX 0000
DPO AE 09498-0048

  • Do not write the country name where the service member is stationed in the address.
  • Include a return address.
  • Inside the box, include the service member’s name and address as well as the sender’s name and address on an index card in case the shipping label gets damaged in transit.

Make V-ROOOOM! For Iconic Toys on Stamps – UPDATE

To watch the first day ceremony, visit the U.S. Postal Service Facebook page or follow this link to the video.

A half-century ago in 1968, a Mattel toy innovator, a car designer and a rocket scientist combined to create a fast and furious fantasy cars that became famous as Hot Wheels. This year, to mark their 50th anniversary, the U.S. Postal Service will uncage 20 Forever stamps showcasing some of the most outrageous Hot Wheels cars for fans and racers of all ages.

A self-adhesive pane of 20 stamps in diagonal rows showcase photographer Len Rizzi’s images of 10 Hot Wheels cars — two of each design — speeding along a bright orange track. Each displays the name of the vehicle, “USA” and “Forever,” with the Hot Wheels logo in the top corner of the pane, and the 50th anniversary logo on the back of the pane.

The miniature Hot Wheels depicted are: Purple Passion (1990); Rocket-Bye-Baby (1971); Rigor Motor (1994); Rodger Dodger (1974); Mach Speeder (2018); The Twin Mill (1969); Bone Shaker (2006); HW40 (2008); Deora II (2000); and The Sharkruiser (1987).

Greg Breeding designed the stamps and was the typographer, and William J. Gicker was the project’s art director. The stamps will be dedicated during a first-day-of-issue ceremony Saturday, September 29, at the Goodguys 26th Summit Racing Lone Star Nationals in Fort Worth, Texas. Followers of the U.S. Postal Service’s Facebook page can view the ceremony live at

Falconry Meets Philately at Vermont First Day Ceremony

An Indian Summer morning in Vermont provided the perfect venue for four stamps celebrating a quartet of Birds of Winter Forever stamps September 23.

The stamps were designed by art director Antonio Alcalá with original artwork by Nadia Taylor. As the USPS puts it, “The somber feeling of winter, evoked by the stark white backgrounds, is enlivened by the bold colors of the birds’ plumage in the simplified shapes of the digital rendering.”

Sharon OwensAlthough not a seasoned collector, USPS Dedicating Official Sharon Owens had clearly studied up on her subject when she introduced the new stamps at the Vermont Institute of Natural Science in Quechee, Vermont:

“The Postal Service has a long tradition of putting birds on stamps to celebrate and raise awareness of these amazing creatures. Over the years our stamps have featured countless displays of our feathered friends ─ lovebirds, songbirds, coastal birds, hummingbirds, migratory birds, birds of prey, parakeets, parrots, as well as the state birds for all 50 states.” First and most frequent of these was and is the bald eagle, first pictured on both 10-cent and 30-cent stamps in 1869.

Best Supporting Actor at the first-day event was a hunting falcon that flew back and forth over the audience between two trainers after the stamps had been dedicated, a highly skilled raptor that would be delighted to make a nice lunch out of any of the four birds on the stamps:  the black-capped chickadee, northern cardinal,  blue jay and the red-bellied woodpecker.

Issued in booklets of 20, the Birds of Winter Forever stamps are always equal in value to the first class domestic one-ounce letter rate (currently 50 cents).

New Literature Competition Focuses on Shorter Works

A new literature competition will be inaugurated February 1-3, 2019 at the Sarasota National Stamp Exhibition in Sarasota, FL in cooperation with Writers Unit 30, the society for philatelic authors. The format for this show will be different from the literature events currently held at CHICAGOPEX and StampShow. The Sarasota exhibit will be open only to articles of less than 8,000 words. The “articles only” show is intended to recognize the hundreds of authors of philatelic journal articles who each year contribute to the hobby with new information for collectors, exhibitors and researchers.

According to Liz Hisey, Chairperson of the Sarasota show, “At one point, single frame philatelic exhibits had difficulty gaining the attention they deserved until becoming a separate category in exhibit competitions. The same can be said for shorter articles, many of which provide outstanding research for us, yet are lost among larger philatelic works. We want to set them apart and recognize the authors.”

“This type of competition is needed to focus on shorter pieces that are sometimes overshadowed by longer, more complex works in regular literature exhibits,” says David Crotty, Writers Unit 30 Director and editor of its journal. “This is a real opportunity to help develop philatelic authors which is a major focus of our organization.”

Journal editors and authors are encouraged to submit entries for the show no later than December 1, 2018. A complete prospectus and entry form are available on the show’s web site –

Five-Stamp Salute for Canada’s Emergency Responders

Canadian First RespondersOn Monday, September 10, Canada Post unveiled a new stamp celebrating the nation’s paramedics − the first of five stamps to be unveiled this week in honor of Canada’s emergency responders. Shown here, the first stamp, which pays the basic “P” domestic letter-rate (currently 85 cents) was unveiled at Ambulance New Brunswick headquarters in the provincial capital of Fredericton.

Canada Post and the stamp designers consulted with the Paramedic Association of Canada, which represents more than 20,000 practitioners, to ensure the stamp image is representative of paramedics in Canada. The stamp shows a black and white sketch of a female paramedic in the foreground while a pair of paramedics assists a victim of a medical emergency an ambulance and a helicopter wait ready nearby.

Canadian Army Emergency ResponseThe second stamp, saluting the Canadian Armed Forces in the Emergency Responder role, was unveiled at Canadian Forces Base Valcartier just northwest of Quebec City September 11.

The second stamp in the series again shows a black-and-white image of a female soldier with beret and binoculars in the foreground, while Army personnel in the background answer a flood with sandbags, rescue sodden survivors using a rubber raft and truck in needed supplies in a large transport vehicle. Just last May, troops with such vehicles and supplies from CFB Valcartier traveled six hours to bring much-needed relief when floods ravaged the Gatineau region of Quebec along the Ottawa River.

Three other Emergency Responders stamps will pay tribute to important roles played by search and rescue experts, firefighters and police. All five stamps reflect Canadians’ respect and gratitude for the skills, service and sacrifices of the men and women who protect Canadians, sometimes by risking their own lives.

The stamp for search-and-rescue experts will be unveiled in Banff, Alberta September 12, the firefighters stamp will be unveiled in Halifax, Nova Scotia, September 13, and a stamp to honor Canadian police officers will be unveiled in Ottawa on Friday, September 14, when all five stamps will go on sale simultaneously.

Special stylized pictorial cancellations and overall-design Official first day cover envelopes also will be available on the dates of unveiling for each of the stamps. Emergency Responders stamps and OFDCs will be available for purchase on and at postal outlets across Canada. Orders also can be placed by phone from Canada and the United States at 1-800-565-4362.