WESLEY CHAPEL, Fla. (WFLA) – Amid roaring tensions in Iraq, mail delivery to troops has been temporarily suspended.
The Department of Defense temporarily suspended mail operations into Baghdad Airport due to an overwhelming amount of mail getting backed up.
“Effective immediately, mail transitioning through Baghdad Airport is temporarily suspended,” DOD spokeswoman, Jessica Maxwell said. “The temporary suspension of new mail (for entry or movement into the country) will prevent a further mail backlog.”
According to Maxwell, the DOD is exploring way to reduce mail backlog until normal mail operations are restored.
“The temporary suspension of new mail means that if a person walks into a post office to send a letter to one of the affected ZIP codes, it will not be accepted by the USPS,” Maxwell said. “If the items is dropped in one of the USPS Blue boxes it will be returned to sender once USPS automation processes it.”
The following zip codes are impacted by the suspension:
- 09305, Baghdad Diplomatic Support Center
- 09308, Besmaya Combat Training Center
- 09333, Al Asad Air Base
- 09348, FOB Union III
- 09378, Camp Taji
- 09381, Al Taqqadum Air Base
- 96610-0800, SPMGTAF 2/7 DET9
- 96610-1500, Task Force Spartan 20.1
The temporary suspension could be bad news for troops because it could lead to bad morale.
Mark Van Trees, Director of the Wesley Chapel non-profit organization, Support the Troops believes sending troops mail and care packages boosts morale. In fact, the organization sends daily care packages to troops in Iraq.
“They are the ones who don’t have access to the commissary where they can get things like toothpaste, razors and socks, so when they get that box it’s like Christmas,” Van Trees said.
Support the Troops sends 10-30 50 lb. packages to Iraq daily. He learned about the suspension when the post office he works with daily delivered him a memo.
“The memo said they were temporarily suspended delivery services to certain zip codes in Iraq,” Van Trees said. “Almost half of those zip codes are where we deliver to daily.”
The post office, directly behind Support the Troops, understands the impact this temporary suspension will have on troops.
“It’s very sad that we have all these military people and all of our amazing customers who mail out these packages, they are just goodie packages, something to keep them happy and they aren’t going to be able to go out now, they will just sit here,” Virginia Ruggiero, Manager of the Wesley Chapel P.O Office said.
Regardless, Support the Troops isn’t letting the suspension get in the way of their mission. They are still packing boxes and delivering to the places they can.
The DOD said they do not know the exact day the suspension will be lifted.