With the holiday season here, it’s time to start thinking about how, and when, to get gifts and Christmas cards to their destination on time. With online e-cards and social media, many will forgo the traditional mailing of Christmas cards.

However, gifts for Family members and friends who live far away will still need to be mailed.

The 2nd Platoon, 18th Human Resource Company, XVIII Airborne Corps was tapped to provide information, tips and recommendations for holiday mailing.

“Fort Bragg post offices provide first class, priority and standard mail services. We also provide additional services such as registered, insured, signature confirmation, returned receipt and certified mail, plus we provide money order services as well,” said Staff Sgt. Antoine Britt, custodian of postal effects, 2nd Platoon, 18th Human Resource Company.

Adding that “There are two post offices on Fort Bragg to serve the community — the Army Post Office located in Building 2-1256 on Macomb Street and the other is the U.S. Postal Service Office next to the Mini Mall.”

The Army Post Office Fort Bragg is currently the only Army-run, post office outside of a deployed environment. According to Capt. Robert Whiteley, 18th HR Co. commander, the APO was implemented as a training resource to prepare and train postal operators for their postal mission while deployed.

The Soldiers running the APO are part of the 18th HR Co. in the Special Troops Battalion, 82nd Airborne Division, Sustainment Brigade.

“These Soldiers, like most other Soldiers on Fort Bragg, conduct physical training in the mornings, (they) are required to maintain their physical fitness and weapons qualifications and even support unit taskings like gate guard duties. They are deployable and currently support U.S. Forces Command Global Response Force missions,” said Whiteley.

“So, while the Army Post Office services military and DoD (Department of Defense) civilians at Fort Bragg, its primary mission is focused on training which is why it closes for all XVIII Airborne Corps training holidays and half day schedules and closes intermittently to support field training exercises, ranges, or other unit training requirements,” he added.

To ensure timely delivery of packages and mail, Britt pointed out that customers should adhere closely to the following mailing deadlines:

First class mail service deadline is Dec. 20

Priority mail/priority express service deadline is Dec. 21

U.S. Postal Service retail ground service deadline is Dec. 15

Something else to keep in mind when purchasing gifts and items to mail, is the list of restricted items — those items that are prohibited to send through the mail. The items that can and cannot be mailed are determined by the sending and receiving location. Therefore, before you go out and spend big bucks buying that fine bottle of vintage wine for Uncle Joe, check the USPS website at www.usps.com/ship/shipping-restrictions.htm for a complete list of prohibited items (which can range from perfume to alcohol.)

So, what are the benefits of using on-post postal service versus off-post? Aside from the obvious — convenience, there is also the fact that the APO has a reduced price for the purchase of money orders, said Britt.

Human resource companies around the country are beginning to open Army post offices at their locations modeling the APO at Fort Bragg.

“The Army Post Office is a great opportunity for (Soldiers in) human resources to gain valuable training while providing a service to Fort Bragg and increasing awareness of the capabilities human resource professionals bring to the military both deployed and in garrison,” said Whiteley.