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From: Paul F Austin <PAUSTIN@HARRIS.COM>
Newsgroups: sci.military.naval
Subject: re: FPO mail-how reliable
Date: Wed, 27 Nov 1996 08:45:48 -0500

> (William S. Rowell) writes:
>  How reliable is mail to ships in port or on deployment? Is it 
>  possible to use return receipt like with regular US Mail?
FPO mail is _very_ reliable. The USPS makes every effort to promptly
deliver mail to sailors. The US Mail Ships with their prominent
Red/White/Blue color scheme sail twice daily from New York and San
Diego. These ships are developments of the SL-7 class of container
ships, able to maintain 30kt in even the heaviest seas.

The USPS maintains a grid of Mail Buoys, deep moored on 1 degree
lat/long spacing. The Mail Buoys are a major maintenance line for the
USPS because, especially in northern lattitudes, they're subject to ice
damage. In the Southern Hemisphere, they also become nesting sites for
pelagic Penguins. The Mail Ships, travel from Mail Buoy to Mail Buoy,
dropping off sacks of mail. USN ships pick up their mail as they pass. 

It's a picturesque sight with Postal Clerks standing by the rail, boat
hook in hand, deftly hooking the sacks and swinging them up on deck.
Captains hate to make two passes at a Mail Buoy, it's a sign of a slack
crew, so the PC has to look sharp and be quick.

As an aside, Green Peace is protesting the Mail Buoy system, because the
pelagic Penguin population is ballooning because the Penguins can take
refuge from Killer Whales on the Buoys. In their natural state, the
Orcas can break ice flows and dump the Penguins, turning them into hors
In politics, sincerity is everything.
If you learn to fake that, you've got it made.
Paul Austin

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