By Story by Spc. Seth BarhamJanuary 11, 2010
FORT CARSON, Colo. - Friends and Families of Soldiers deployed to Afghanistan now have an easier and quicker way to send mail to their loved ones. A new "HooahMail" service provides a fast, free and secure way of sending letters and photographs via the Internet.
The service is part of a one-year Army pilot program that began Dec. 1 and combines electronic transmission with printing and delivery by the Army Post Office in Afghanistan.
Senders must register at https://www.HooahMail.us, add their recipient to the address book, compose their letter and pictures and send the correspondence over the internet.
The designated APO in Afghanistan receives the correspondence electronically and uses a special machine to print and seal the letter. The letter is then delivered through normal unit mail channels. The HooahMail sealer ensures the contents remain confidential, so only the intended recipient sees the mail.
According to the HooahMail Flyer available at http://www.army.mil, the service differs from e-mail because computer access is not required to read or receive mail. This is beneficial because deployed troops often have limited access to computers.
The service is free for all users and allows Families and friends to communicate with their loved ones quickly. Some letters are ready to be delivered within 24 hours of being sent, which can take more than two weeks when mailed conventionally to get to Soldiers in Afghanistan.
To ensure accuracy of the mail, users pick the specific APO address from a drop down menu, so there is no need to write the address. Senders need only to know the recipient's servicing APO.
The HooahMail website also allows the sender to track the status of the sent mail. Senders can log on and see if their message has been received by the APO or if it has been delivered.
The Army modeled HooahMail after the United States Marine Corps "MotoMail," which has delivered mail to deployed Marines since 2003.
The service is free for the Family and friends of Soldiers deployed to Afghanistan only, and according to an article by Sandra Jontz, Stars and Stripes, there are no plans to offer the service for Soldiers in Iraq.
HooahMail is a one-way service from Family and friends to deployed Soldiers. The service cannot be used by Soldiers to mail letters home.