Story by Pfc. Eric Rodriguez
13th COSCOM Public Affairs Office
As many units prepare to deploy and others begin to arrive, the Army postal service here at Anaconda is becoming concerned with the overwhelming amount of contraband that soldiers attempt to send out regularly.
The 175th Postal Unit, deployed out of Ft. Lewis, Wash., has seen many examples of this in the past. As the unit overseeing postal operations here at LSA Anaconda, they have work hard to get mail in-and-out of the country, while trying to prevent the mailing of war trophies and other non-mailable items such as sand, knives and pistols.
"We ask the soldiers to bring their boxes to us unopened so that we can look through the items" said Sgt. Travis Young the current non-commissioned officer-in-charge of the day shift. "Many soldiers are not aware of what items they cannot send out. Many times they make the mistake of packing it."
The 175th Postal Unit conducts package inspections in accordance with Department of the Army pamphlet 25-5 and theater messages in order to prevent prohibited items from entering the U.S. Postal system.
They generally give the customers the benefit of doubt if there is contraband in their packages, the box is open and the contraband is clearly not hidden, said Young.
"Initially concealing non-mailable items is punishable under the Uniform Code of Military Justice", said Young.
"The most that I have heard of anything happening was to two soldiers that were prosecuted and then sent down to Kuwait to be incarcerated," said Young. "What we normally do is take their identification card, information of their First Sergeant and Company Commander and then refer it to the Mayor's Cell, where they decide whether to prosecute the soldier or not."
Items that are considered contraband by the postal service include; but are not limited to: sand, rocks, gravel, marble, plaster, sheetrock, tobacco products, bayonets, artificial pistols, lighters with lighter fluid and military issued equipment.
If you have any questions concerning the mailing of any items please contact Sgt. Wright with the postal service at DNVT 580-9000.
Sgt. Travis Young displays a piece of combat debris that has been confiscated from a Soldier attempting to send it through the postal system.