The Rhine Ordnance Barracks post office received more than 150 packages of donations a day for several days addressed to the USO in support of Operation Allies Refuge.
The Rhine Ordnance Barracks post office received more than 150 packages of donations a day for several days addressed to the USO in support of Operation Allies Refuge. (Photo Credit: Shaylee Borcsani) VIEW ORIGINAL

KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany—Inundated by the generosity of hundreds of Americans stateside, the postal team for U.S. Army Garrison Rheinland-Pfalz has had its hands full during Operation Allies Refuge and is eyeing an even busier holiday season.

During the height of OAR deliveries, every open space around the parcel processing area at the post office on Rhine Ordnance Barracks was crammed full daily with care packages addressed to the USO.

In mid-September, the post office on ROB saw an unexpected increase in packages it received from people in the United States wanting to support OAR. For eight days, the post office would empty its overfilled shelves and carts full of the USO parcels only to be in the same situation later in the afternoon.

While talking about the operation, Dwight Jones, garrison postal operations assistant, pulled out a purple mail bag, similar in size and stature to the toy sack that Santa Claus is pictured with, to demonstrate what the packages arrive in.

“Under normal circumstances we receive 110 of these sacks daily,” said Jones. “Each one has about five packages in them, so we get in about 550 packages daily during normal operations. During the surge we received about 150 of them daily, so I would say we received about 150 to 200 additional packages daily for the USO on top of our normal package intake.”

This large influx of packages meant that the post office clerks had to work in overdrive to get the parcels processed and ready for pick-up.

“This is amazing. People who have very giving hearts are taking the time out of their day to give these items to the travelers here on ROB,” stated Natalia Acosta, a garrison postal operations assistant. “It is really nice to know all of us at the post office could assist this mission by getting packages to the USO.”

The most common items received were blankets, male and female undergarments, and clothing for all ages and genders. The postal team also took in formula and baby items.

Although this is a large flood of mail for the post office, it receives such an influx of packages every holiday season. The team is starting to prepare for that now.

“During the holiday season we see about 1,250 packages a day,” said Jones. “We also increase our operating hours to allow our customers more time to pick up their packages and mail items to the United States. We do ask that people please pick up their packages as quickly as possible and do not let them sit here.”

To help with the increased demands of the holidays the post office is hiring nine additional seasonal postal operations clerks for their facilities in Kaiserslautern, Sembach, Landstuhl and Baumholder. The post offices will employ people for three months (Nov. 1 to Jan. 31, 2022), but they may be extended up to 18 months.

“We need help at all of our post offices during the holidays,” stated Scott Hamilton, garrison postal superintendent. “We see a steep increase, usually double our daily intake, in the amount of incoming and outgoing mail.”

As the holidays quickly approach, the post office wants to reiterate that the deadlines for holiday mail are sooner than those in the United States.

Recommended mailing dates for mail going to the U.S. from APO AE addresses:

▪️ Nov. 27 - Retail Ground Mail

▪️ Dec. 11 - 1st Class / Priority Mail

▪️ Dec. 18 - Priority Mail Express Mail

Recommended mailing dates for mail coming from the U.S. to APO AE addresses:

▪️ Nov. 6 - Retail Ground Mail

▪️ Dec. 11 - 1st Class / Priority Mail

▪️ Dec. 18 - Priority Mail Express Mail

Postal clients should complete the online version of the customs declarations for a speedier visit. The post office is able to accept packages through ‘Click-N-Collect’ shipping services. You can find these options from USPS or USPS official partners: Stamps.com and Pirateship.com.

Those interested in applying to work for the post office should send their resume to usarmy.rheinland-pfalz.id-europe.mbx.usag-rp-dhr-actions@mail.mil.