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What to Know About Shipping to a Military Service Member

We’ve talked about sending jerky  along with other necessities to the troops – and with Christmas right around the corner thought additional information on shipping to the troops might be in order. So for those that may not be familiar with the ‘military’ shipping policies of the USPS (United States Postal Service) here is a little information.   For additional details, please visit

What are  MPO,  APO and FPO

Let’s first take a look at  three of the most commonly used ways of shipping:

  1. MPO – Military Post Office, provides postal services for military personnel
  2. APO – Army/Air Force Post Office, Military Post Office for Army/Air Force personnel
  3. FPO – Fleet Post Office, Military Post Office for Navy personnel

There are a couple of other specialty classifications,  but if you’re mailing a package, these three are the ones you would most likely use.

Basic Information About Military Mail

Military Mail costs are the same as domestic postage – with a First Class mail stamp delivering a letter to a US military person around the world.

Both APO and FPO mail are processed similar to regular mail – regardless of the military location. Each location has a zip code referred to as an APO or FPO number. These can be found online along with additional information at this link(If you don’t immediately  see what you are looking for on the page, perform a ‘search’ using the search box.)

Addressing Military Mail

When addressing a package or letter to a service member, always use the APO or FPO address without the name of the city and country. This ensures that the item will be handled by the military mail system rather than the international mail system.  See sample below.


APO/MPO Parcel Post vs. Priority

Based on weight, Parcel Post packages that weigh more than 15 pounds (or equal more than 60 inches when length and girth are combined) will travel by ship to the military address. Priority Mail packages are sent by air transportation.

As with regular mail, these packages are eligible for extra services. Some MPO locations may be exempt, so check on line to confirm availability.

These services include:

  • Insurance
  • Registered Mail
  • Delivery Confirmation
  • Certified Mail
  • Return Receipt
 How to Pack Your Items
  1. For safety, also place the mailing address inside the parcel on a separate piece of paper.
  2. Use a box that is suitable to the contents. The USPS has special military Flat Rate boxes you may want to use.
  3. Pack the items so the weight is evenly distributed, and cannot shift or crush.
  4. Use strong packing tape to seal – NO string.
  5. Make sure there are no other markings/printings that might confuse destination
  6. Enclose all personal hygiene items in zip bag
  7. Place perishable items (cookies, crackers, jerky) in plastic container
  8. Do not mail liquids, carbonated drinks or anything else that might explode in transit
 Transit Time

Delivery time varies depending on location and method sent. This can range anywhere from seven (7) days to thirty (30) days. For more information about delivery, services, restrictions, and mailing kits visit the USPS website at or call them at1-800-275-8777 (USPS). For other information about military mailing, contact the Military Postal Service Agency at 1-800-810-6098 or visit their website at


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