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Flood of good wishes clogs military mail system

Folks on the home front who want to send letters, cookies and hand lotion to deployed soldiers are getting a mixed message on mailings from military sources.

Representatives from local Army and Marine recruiting offices and a military Web site are discouraging the public from sending notes and packages. Instead, they're recommending e-mail messages and virtual gift certificates.

But one official from the Oregon National Guard offers specific addresses for soldiers and says they'll welcome the contact.

These guys that are in Bradleys don't have time to log onto e-mail, says Maj. Arnold V. Strong, public affairs officer with the state National Guard.

— Other military sources, however, say letters and packages addressed to any soldier, or many parcels sent to a single soldier are causing security and transportation problems.

It just messes up the mail, said Army Sgt. Ron House of the Medford office. It's overflooding the mail, basically.

His view is echoed by U.S. Marine Staff Sgt. Christian Rosario.

That's why we've been discouraging it. It could prevent them from receiving their own mail from home.

The military Web site advises members of the public to refrain from sending packages to the 300,000 troops stationed in Kuwait and Iraq.

Please do not flood the military mail system with letters, cards and gifts, it says. This, however well-intentioned, clogs the mail and causes unnecessary delays.

Instead, the Web site offers several alternate ways for people at home to support the soldiers, ranging from e-mails and commissary gift certificates to an online, wounded heroes tribute page.

People who do wish to send mail to mobilized Oregon National Guard troops and those waiting to go can use the following addresses, supplied by Strong:

Capt. Marcus Williams, Bravo Company/52 Engineers, 1517 Ellis St., Bldg. 1201, Ft. Carson, Colo., 80913

Headquarters, 1-162 Infantry, Chaplain (Maj.) Scott Delbridge, 6151 Becker Ave., Bldg. 1550, Fort Carson, Colo., 80913.

Col. Charles Yriarte, 82 Rear Operation Center, Box 339456, Ft. Lewis, Wash., 98433-9456

Lt. Col William J. Schutz, 1249 Engineer Battalion, Box 339546, Ft. Lewis, Wash., 98433

For UPS use:

Lt. Col. William J. Schutz, 1249 Engineer Battalion, Bldg. 11039, Ft. Lewis, Wash., 98433

Capt. Brian Houston, 1042 Medical Company (AA), APO AE 09889

Capt. Mark Ulvin, 1042 Medical Company (AA), Unit 704-11, APO AE 09882

Maj. Matt Brady, 1042 Medical Co., c/o 56 Med Bn, Ft. Bragg, N.C., 28310

Reach reporter JoNel Aleccia at 776-4465, or e-mail