Act now to send 2019 holiday cards & gifts

These are bags of empty mail bags, indicating the great number of parcels and other mail received by the Panzer CMR during the 2018 holiday season.

Story and photos by John Reese
USAG Stuttgart Public Affairs

With the holiday season almost upon us, the USPS and the USAG Stuttgart Army Post Office offers holiday transit times for mail between Stuttgart and the continental U.S. so those season’s greetings arrive on time.

Use free USPS flat-rate boxes at the APOs to save money, and “click & ship” labels to pay for postage before mailing them. Visit www.USPS.com for more information. Don’t forget to complete your Customs forms in advance to save time.

Sending or receiving USPS Express Mail takes 2-5 days; Priority/First Class mail takes 4-10 days; Partial Airlift, or PAL, is a bit slower and less expensive at 2-4 weeks; another inexpensive way of sending packages, Space Available Mail or SAM, takes 4-6 weeks.

The deadline to mail Express mail to arrive in time for Christmas is Dec. 18, while for ground shipments was Nov. 6. For SAM, the deadline is Nov. 27; for PAL, Dec. 4; for First-Class and Priority, Dec. 11. Hanukkah takes place Dec. 22-30, so subtract three days from these deadlines.

As usual during this busy time of year, the Stuttgart APOs and CMRs will be offering special open hours on Saturdays beginning Nov. 16. For sending packages, the APOs will be open Saturdays until Dec. 21; for receiving packages, the CMRs offer Saturday pickups, 11 a.m.–3 p.m., until Jan. 11, 2020. One exception is Dec. 21, when the CMRs will open an hour earlier at 10 a.m.

Be sure to get your mail as the holiday season draws closer. The CMRs fill to bursting over the holidays, so much so that a new day’s mail cannot be unloaded after the facilities are full.

Of all times of the year, the massive influx of parcels will overwhelm the storage capacities of the CMRs unless postal patrons pick up their packages upon arrival. When you get the notification in your mail box, try to take it to the window on the spot. If this isn’t possible, leave the notices in the mail box until you’re ready. All CMRs are closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Day and all Sundays.

The Saturday breakdown for APO open hours Kelley, Patch and Panzer, 11 a.m.–3 p.m. (Robinson Barracks won’t have Saturday hours and will be open Tuesdays and Thursdays, 1-3:30 p.m.). Postal patrons expecting to send multiple packages may make appointments for holiday mailing by using the garrison app or by visiting www.stuttgartcitizen.com/appointments/. Appointments will be made for the one hour period before the APOs open for business. Note, upcoming changes may be coming to the online appointment scheduler and app, to include the possibility that these services will be discontinued by Installation Management Command, so make your appointments early while the systems are still in place. In consideration of your fellow community members, please ensure you make your appointment.

Follow the garrison Facebook page and Stuttgart Citizen online for updates and announcements.

Dialing it in

The garrison postmaster wants the Stuttgart military community to know that some of the APO and CMR phone numbers, including the Official Mail Room, have changed since the last holiday season. Note: These are the normal hours of operation at the APOs since they were changed in 2018. See the special holiday hours on this page.

Kelley Barracks Bldg. 3312, APOs 423 and 489: 421-2330

Open Wednesdays and Fridays, 10 a.m.–4 p.m.

CMR 423 and 489 regular weekday window hours: 11:30 a.m.–1 p.m. and 3:30–6 p.m.

Official Mail Room, Bldg. 2915, Panzer Barracks: 596-3192

Panzer Kaserne Bldg. 2953, APO 445, phone 596-2563

Open Mondays and Wednesdays, 10 a.m.–4 p.m.

CMR 445 regular weekday window hours: 11:30 a.m.–1 p.m. and 3:30–6 p.m.: 596-3407

Patch Barracks Bldg. 2325, APO 480: 596-7226

Open Tuesdays and Thursdays, 10 a.m.–4 p.m.

CMR 480 weekday window hours: 11:30 a.m.–1 p.m. and 3:30–6 p.m.,

Phone: 596-4078

Robinson Barracks, Bldg. 196, APO 447: 420-7932

Open Tuesdays and Thursdays, 1–3:30 p.m.

CMR 447 weekday window hours: 2:30–6 p.m.: 420-7323