Home / Navy Life / Family / How to Make Your Sailor the Ultimate Holiday Package

How to Make Your Sailor the Ultimate Holiday Package

By Sandy Gall
U.S. Navy Social and Emerging Media
*Updated Nov. 26, 2014

It’s hard to believe, but the holiday season is upon us. With so many of our Sailors deployed, many of Navy spouses, moms, dads, grandparents are starting to get their care packages ready.

But, what elevates a good care package to greatness? How can your care package stand out and reign supreme? We asked our Facebook fans for some help and put together some tips and tricks on how you can make the ultimate care package.



Step 1: Get familiar with the New Navy Standardized Fleet Post Office (FPO) mail address format – Addresses for ships, mobile units and ashore FPOs are being converted to an address format compatible with the U.S. Postal Service’s (USPS) address system. Below is the new format. For more information, read here.

The new format for ships and mobile units is as follows:

Line 1: Name
Line 2: Ship or Mobile Unit name
Line 3: Ship or Mobile Unit number, box number
Line 4: FPO (AP, AE, AA) ZIP code (5 digits only)

The new format for ashore FPOs now includes a Postal Service Center (PSC) number and box number along with a 5-digit ZIP code in the address as follows:

Line 1: Name
Line 2: PSC number, box number
Line 3: FPO (AP, AE, AA) ZIP code (5 digits only)


Step 2: Timeliness – it has to get there on time. NAVSUP put out the 2014 holiday season mailing deadlines and we’ve provided the top level information below.

Mail-by dates for pre-December 25th deliveries:

APO/FPO/DPO AE zips 090-098 (except 093); AA zips 340; AP zips 962-966

  • Priority Express Mail Military Service: Dec. 17
  • First-Class and Priority Mail (letters/cards and packages): Dec. 10
  • Space Available Mail: Nov. 26
  • Standard Post Mail: Nov. 8


  • Priority Express Mail Military Service: N/A
  • First-Class and Priority Mail (letters/cards and packages): Dec. 3
  • Space Available Mail: Nov. 26
  • Standard Post Mail: Nov. 8

Domestic Mail (For ships in port and personnel on shore duty in the U.S. mailing to U.S. destinations-not including APO/FPO)

  • Priority Express Mail: Dec. 23
  • First-Class Mail: Dec. 20
  • Priority Mail: Dec. 20

Step 3: Keep in mind your Sailor’s space limitations If your Sailor is deployed, chances are they are in tight quarters with storage space. Our Facebook fans suggest personal sized snack, individually sealed goodies and small personal items are great!

Walter fa real Cindy



Step 4: Cookies and Jerky One thing is for sure, according to our Facebook and Twitter fans, the top two requested food items are cookies and jerky.

Vanillasugar CP11 (1)



Step 5: Send the boring stuff – toiletries and personal items It may not seem like a fun thing to send, but Sailors love the little touches from home. Sometimes that means their favorite shampoo, new socks or specific hobby items. Are they a runner? Reader? Add some personal items in there they would normally pick up themselves if they could.




Step 6: Family news Not surprisingly, the things our Sailors miss the most aren’t “things.” What they miss most is the family at home who they are deployed defending. Notes, cards, pictures… that’s what they really want!

Wayne mad


Send enough to share!


Want more tips? Check out what our Facebook fans had to say: http://on.fb.me/1y529JR 


*Although there has been a lot of news lately regarding address changes for FPO addresses, please note this change will not happen for USS Carl Vinson until AFTER deployment. The address remains:

Sailor Rank/Rate, Name
USS Carl Vinson CVN 70 
FPO, AP 96629-2840 

All airwing and squadron mailing addresses remain unchanged as well.



About U.S. Navy

Check Also

The Rundown

@USNPeople Weekly Wire Rundown: Oct. 16, 2017

The Weekly Wire Rundown is a weekly video blog from the Office of the Chief …


  1. Andi Martínez Ten Eyck

    Your son can provide you via email or call his mailing address. You will have to use a customs form for your package. It will probably take 4-6 weeks to deliver. All post offices know how to send these packages, and they can help filling out the forms as well.

  2. In September, my son, a SARC, left the ship with 60 recon Marines and
    are at the Kuwait Naval Base. They have not gotten any mail since that
    time. Please assist or point me to the person who can assist. Thank
    you, Linda Weber, peace and goodwill.

  3. In what case does a customs form need to be attached to a parcel destined for an FPO?

  4. Andi Martínez Ten Eyck

    Customs forms are used for overseas addresses. In case of the ship, when they are overseas, you need to use a customs form. When the ship returns stateside, you don’t need one.

  5. Navy: The ombudsman or Marine Corps: Family Readiness Officer (FRO) helps with that kind of situation.

  6. Thanks I will keep trying, so far no one has solved this problem.

  7. Thanks Andi for your advice. It helps! We will put a notice on our website and social media sites informing our customers to let us know if their loved one who is getting our product as a gift is overseas. Then we won’t have a repeat of the AmmOMug that came back to us requesting a Customs Form. We cannot delay as our products are being purchased as Christmas Gifts to Sailors both Domestic and Overseas. And who wants a late Christmas present? !!! Thank you! Mike

Leave a Reply