Army General Asks Congress To Help Stop Unsolicited Mail
The commander of U.S. Central command is asking Congress for help in eliminating unsolicited mail to servicemembers.
Army Gen. John P. Abizaid said military mail service is running at capacity, and he noted the propensity of America to be especially generous during the holidays.
“I would greatly appreciate your assistance in communicating to your constituents the challenges bulk donations from the public present,” Abizaid wrote in a letter directed at Congress. The letter has been provided to congressmen inquiring about mail issues.
Unsolicited mail is no longer accepted because of the stress it creates on the military mail system and because of the possible threat it can pose to servicemembers. Programs like “Operation Dear Abby” and the “Any Servicemember” mail program were suspended on Oct. 30, 2002.
“As a matter of policy, the Department of Defense and United States Central Command generally discourage bulk donations because of the added burden on the DoD transportation and distribution system and the real threat of bio-terrorism and associated security concerns,” Abiziad said in the letter.
The U.S. Postal Service no longer delivers items not addressed to a specific servicemember. If packages are left at a collection site and the sender can be determined, they will be returned. If no return address is listed, any care-package items will go to a local charity, a customer-service agent said.
Hoever, there are other ways to support the troops. Dozens of organizations are accepting donations to put together care packages. They include the services’ relief societies, as well as the Veterans of Foreign Wars, American Red Cross, Armed Forces YMCA and the USO.
Those wishing to support servicemembers through the USO, for example, have a choice of donation methods. That organization accepts donations through its Web site, by phone or in the mail.
Abizaid commended the “admirable” efforts of the American people in demonstrating their support to the country’s deployed servicemembers. He is, however, encouraging a refocusing of generosity so that the American military personnel get the maximum benefit of donated goods.