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DEPLOYMENT: QUESTIONS
This section updated Thursday, July 5, 2007 ~ 17:03 CST
Overview | Sole Surviving Son | FAQ | Next of Kin | Legal Issues | Military Pay/W2 | Voting | Injuries: WIA
See Also: Deployment | Locations | Back to Iraq | Iraq 2003 | Retrograde | Post War
Questions about Deployment? Click here for help form.
Post-Deployment Questions

Now that our sons and daughters have been deployed, I realize we have a lot of questions and we need to know where to get the answers. Click a question below to view the comment or answer, or scroll through the page to read the entire list of questions, comments, and answers.

  1. I would like to understand the terminology "Stop Loss". Can you help?
  2. Why do we need to keep APO and FPO addresses secure?
  3. How do we know if they have arrived safely?
  4. How do we get the overseas mailing address for our Marine?
  5. Can we send Email to our Marines in the Persian Gulf area?
  6. How long does it take to hear from your Marine after they've been deployed?
  7. Can we send care packages? Do you have suggestions of what to send?
  8. How much is postage to an FPO or APO address?
  9. I don't have an address for my Marine. What do I do?
  10. Our Marine had asked us to keep track of his bank account but we are now unable to get any information. What do I do?
  11. We sent out a package the day before we got the FPO address to our Marine's stateside address. Will it be forward to him or sent back?
  12. Are they allowed money? Should we send some?
  13. My deployed Marine has moved to a new location. Will his mail be forwarded?
  14. My Marine was not able to file a tax return before being deployed. What do we do?
  15. How can I get more information about my Marine's specific location?
  16. Why does it takes so long for them to receive their packages?
  17. Sending mail and packages to the APO/FPO address is problematic or they tell me the zip code is incorrect. Is there another option?
  18. Do I need to pay my Marine's bills while he/she is deployed?
  19. How do I get a copy of the Power of Attorney?
  20. I want to 'adopt' a Marine and send care packages. How do I get an address?
  1. I would like to understand the terminology "Stop Loss". Can you help?:
    Click this link for USMC Stop Loss Information

    [Back to the top]     

  2. Why do we need to keep APO and FPO addresses secure?:
    Simply put, safeguarding your APO/FPO address can help to reduce the vulnerability of using the mail system as a means to attack military people abroad. See the link under "Deployment" titled "Mailing Guide" for USPS issued approved package content.

    [Back to the top]     

  3. How do we know if they have arrived safely?
    Answer: See the link to the left under "Deployment" called "
    Toll Free HELP" for a complete list of numbers. The toll free numbers offer pre-recorded, yet up-to-date information about specific unit deployments and Marine activities overseas. Great information...use them!

    [Back to the top]     

  4. How do we get the overseas mailing address for our Marine?
    Answer: We've got the numbers to call for help. Use the link at the top left under "Deployment" titled "Toll Free HELP". They will answer any kind of question, including mailing addresses, power or attorney, and more. The numbers are based on the region your Marine was most recently stationed in.

    See also: I don't have an address for my Marine. What do I do?

    [Back to the top]     

  5. Can we send Email to our Marines in the Persian Gulf area?
    Comment: This varies widely from one country to another and from location to location within country. And it also varies from one Marine Unit, Battalion and Platoon to another. And it also depends on the type of job your Marine does. For Marines on ships, you have a higher chance of emailing capability. For Marines in Iraq 2003, email was rare. However, that is not necessarily the case any longer. But again, it depends on your Marine's specific location and job duties.

    [Back to the top]     

  6. How long does it take to hear from your son or daughter after they've been deployed?
    Comment: My best estimated calculation based on input from many other parents, is that mail being sent home is taking about 2 1/2 weeks from the date the Marine sent it. When our Marines hit the ground overseas, they stay phenomenally busy and likely do not get a chance to send letters the first week or more. So that puts it about a month or so to hear from your Marine. To see what some of our Marines are saying when they commnunicated home during Iraq 2003, see the section under "Deployment" titled "From Our Marines".

    [Back to the top]     

  7. Can we send care packages? Do you have suggestions of what to send?
    Comment: Yes, send care packages. Yes, you can send them now. Keep the size of the packages small; larger packages take longer to arrive and your Marine has to haul it around. Smaller, more frequent packages are advised. For more information about what the Marines are asking for and what you can send, click the link at the left under the "Deployment" section titled "Care Packages".

    [Back to the top]     

  8. How much is postage to an APO-FP, FPO-AP, FPO or APO address?
    Answer: Postage is the same as US Mail rates. You don't pay extra for overseas shipping or mailing letters. So a letter stamp is just 37 cents. Postage on packages is to the coast only, either East or West, and from there, the Military takes on the responsibility of delivering your package. You do not pay rates to the country they are deployed to; you only pay to the US coastline.

    During 2003 OIF operations, Marines had free postage for letters mailed to the U.S. (Only letters; packages were not included in free mail.) As of February 24, 2004 I am unsure if free mail is still available in areas defined as combat zones.

    [Back to the top]     

  9. I don't have an address for my Marine. What do I do?
    Answer: NEW TOLL FREE NUMBERS will get the answer you need. See the link at the top of the page under "Deployment" titled "Toll Free HELP".

    Comment: Many Marines were not able to provide a mailing address for their loved ones prior to being deployed. Marine Corps Bases have told us they will post addresses as soon as they know them, but some of them simply are not available yet. We're working on finding more information to help. In the meanwhile, one of the Marine Moms has written to me to let me know she is keeping a daily journal that she will mail to her Marine as soon as she has an address. She's putting a warm thought or expression in it each day. She'll mail it to her son as soon as she gets the address.

    [Back to the top]     

  10. Our Marine had asked us to keep track of his bank account but we are now unable to get any information. What do I do?
    Answer: There is a section on the www.MarineParents.com web site that talks some about this. It's a link called 'Legal Issues'. There are some tips for getting a copy of the Power of Attorney which may help you with that.

    [Back to the top]     

  11. We sent out a package the day before we got the FPO address to our Marine's stateside address. Will it be forward to him or sent back?
    Answer: They will forward it; it will take some time, but it will get there. Here's some additional information on mail and care packages:
    Mailing Overview and Care Packages. You can also call the post office for your Marines stateside address; the phone numbers are on this page: Marine Addresses.

    [Back to the top]     

  12. Are they allowed money? Should we send some?
    Answer: Prior to leaving, your Marine was required to complete paperwork that asked how much money he/she wanted to be delivered to him/her 'in the field' while "in country". So it's very likely that your Marine has money. I would avoid sending money and know that your Marine has the tools within his/her reach to access money should it be needed. You might consider sending a calling card though, and you can get those FREE from Operation Uplink. You can read about it here:
    Phone Calls

    [Back to the top]     

  13. My deployed Marine has moved to a new location. Will his mail be forwarded?
    Answer: The official answer is YES, mail and packages will be forwarded. It will take some time for all the changes to take place and for the old mail to catch up to the new location. Packages will take longer.

    [Back to the top]     

  14. My Marine was not able to file a 2003 tax return before being deployed. What do we do?
    Answer: Your Marine has 180 days after returning stateside to complete his/her tax return. He/she will not pay a penalty if additional taxes are due as long as they file within 180 days.

    Your Marine is also entitled to the "Combat Pay Exemption" which states that he/she will not pay taxes on income earned while deployed to a combat zone. Afghanistan and Iraq (including Kuwait or any other country if it is in direct support of operations OIF and OEF) are considered combat zone.

    Your Marine will be given an opportunity to have a military accountant on a military installation assist with taxes upon return stateside. In most instances there is no charge for this service.

    Publication 3 (for tax year 2003), Armed Forces' Tax Guide

    Additional information provided has been copied directly from H&R Block's web site at www.hrblock.com, February 2004:
    Active-duty military personnel in combat zones receive certain tax breaks and privileges that help keep their minds on the job at hand. As a member of the military, you are eligible for an interest-free extension to pay your income taxes because service in Kosovo and other locations may have seriously impaired your ability to pay or file a return. The extension lasts for the initial period of service plus six months and covers a soldier's spouse as well, regardless of whether they file joint or separate returns. The extension applies only to federal income taxes. Individuals serving in a combat zone as support for the U.S. Armed Forces, such as Red Cross workers, accredited correspondents and civilian personnel acting under the direction of the U.S. Armed Forces are also entitled to the extension.

    All active-duty pay earned by U.S. armed forces personnel performing duties in a combat zone is not subject to federal income tax. Soldiers are still obligated to pay social security and Medicare taxes. Active duty pay is not taxed in the state in which military personnel are currently stationed, only in their official home state of record. Most states exempt all or part of active duty pay.

    Calling home is also encouraged, because telephone calls placed to the United States from a combat zone by a member of the U.S. Armed Forces are exempt from the federal excise tax on toll telephone service. If you already paid the excise tax, you can file IRS Form 8849 to obtain a refund.

    Combat zone military personnel, still under the combat extension, are eligible to make qualified contributions to an IRA for the 2003 tax year after April 15, 2004. U.S. Armed Forces personnel who are entitled to a refund but who do not file until they return home from combat duty will receive interest on the refund amount from the IRS. However, the tax return must be filed within the six-month extension window to be eligible for the interest payment.

    [Back to the top]     

  15. How can I get more information about my Marine's specific location?
    Answer: Specific information is hard to come by, and there are security reasons for that. However, there are three things that you can do to access common information.
    1. Call a toll-free number that provides pre-recorded messages about your Marine's unit. The message may recorded directly from the unit CO, or it may be a message from the CO but read by a volunteer. For a full list of those phone numbers, see the section of the web site under Deployed: Communications: Toll Free Help.
    2. Peruse the newspaper articles. Everything we come across on the internet from valid AP press releases related to deployed Marines is posted on the section of the web site called Deployed: Maps & News: News Stories.
    3. Take a look at the maps section of the web site located at Deployed: Maps & News: Maps & Camps. There are a variety of links to other web sites that have maps and camp names. Some of the links include photos from the actual camps.

    [Back to the top]     

  16. Why does it takes so long for them to receive their packages?
    Answer: Once the APO/FPO addressed mail reaches the East or West coast, the military takes over delivery. The military is responsible for delivery of the packages, and the military is also responsible for getting the troops and equipment and necessary supplies in position at overseas locations. Though your care packages are very important to both you and your Marine, we have to step back and trust that the military is prioritizing delivery of packages strategically and with our Marine's best interests in mind.

    [Back to the top]     

  17. Sending mail and packages to the APO/FPO address is problematic or they tell me the zip code is incorrect. Is there another option?
    Answer: You can do a couple things. First, contact the post office at the Base your son was deployed FROM; i.e. Pendleton, 29 Palms, Camp Lejeune. They can verify your son's address. There is a list of phone numbers for each of those facilities on this page of the web site, called "Marine Addresses". Secondly, if he had been receiving mail at a Marine Post Office on one of the bases, you can send mail to that address and it will be forwarded. (In other words, send it to your Marine's OLD address.) I have official confirmation that mail AND packages are BEING FORWARDED. So, if you're having trouble with packages, send it to the old address to bypass some of the red tape (and little green customs forms).

    [Back to the top]     

  18. Do I need to pay my Marine's bills while he/she is deployed?
    Answer: First of all, did you Marine specifically ask you to pay his/her bills while they were deployed? If not, then it's very possible that your Marine took advantage of the pre-deployment sessions where he/she pre-arranged for bills to be paid electronically while deployed. In addition, Marines were given an opportunity to request an allotment from their payroll checks to have money with them while in country.

    [Back to the top]     

  19. How do I get a copy of the Power of Attorney?
    Answer: Some parents were specifically asked to pay bills for their deployed Marine, and are now having a hard time getting account numbers and cooperation from banks and institutions. Clearly it's good news that they are protecting your Marine's financial interests on his/her behalf. A "Power of Attorney" can help you access account information. If your Marine had completed a "Power of Attorney" prior to deployment, you would have been mailed a copy. If you do not have a copy, you can write to your Marine and ask them to prepare a "Power of Attorney". There are facilities in country to assist with that. The "Power of Attorney" will then be mailed to you.

    [Back to the top]     

  20. I want to 'adopt' a Marine and send care packages. How do I get an address?
    Answer: I've gotten lots of requests from folks asking for a Marine's address so they can send care packages to show support. In post 9/11 days, the military has asked family and friends to safeguard overseas addresses and not give them out. However, you can help support the troops and get care packages to an entire platoon by working through Operation Interdependence, or OI Delivers. OI packages arrive in about a week; some parent packages are taking as long as 30 days. You can contact OI via their web site
    www.oidelivers.org. Parents and troop supporters alike are welcome to work through OI to get packages delivered to our Marines.

    [Back to the top]     

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