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United States/Covers & Postmarks : Vietnam service Cover with US stamps?

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snowy12
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25 Jul 2012
03:18:54am

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Hi All
I came across this cover ,with letter enclosed.As you can see the sender appears to be in the US armed Forces and is in Vietnam,yet the return address is in the US.
Could someone decipher all the initials so I can understand more about the sender please.Image Not Found
Thanks in advance Brian
The cancel reads Airforce postal service

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amsd
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Editor, Seal News; contributor, JuicyHeads
25 Jul 2012
04:11:59pm

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re: Vietnam service Cover with US stamps?

MACV Adv Tm is Military Advisory Command, VietNam; the Adv Tm 126 is specific unit, or Advisory Team 126.

The APO is the military postal office, which, although shown in SF, is really VN. the Asian theatres use SF; the European theatres use NY.

SFC is likely Sergeant First Class

I believe both Army, AF, and Marines all particiated in MACV operations, which began before Johnson OFFICIALLY sent ground troops (Marines) and continued, I believe, past our official departure. Someone with more precise knowlege might be able to comment on this.

Can you read the date on the CDS for us? Or highlight it better? I think you have a very nice piece there, Brian.

David


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amsd
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Editor, Seal News; contributor, JuicyHeads
25 Jul 2012
04:14:32pm

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re: Vietnam service Cover with US stamps?

I should also say that MACV was primarily tasked with assisting ARVN units in the field.

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snowy12
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25 Jul 2012
08:35:16pm

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re: Vietnam service Cover with US stamps?

Hi
Thanks for the information amds it had me rather at a loss.
The cancel date on the cover is Dec 9 1970.The letter states the sender was in Saigon.
Brian

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amsd
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Editor, Seal News; contributor, JuicyHeads
25 Jul 2012
10:13:38pm

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re: Vietnam service Cover with US stamps?

Fabulous cover, Brian. Perhaps some vets or guys with more take on ground troops can help.

Do you care to transcribe for us, or scan it?

David

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snowy12
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25 Jul 2012
10:41:09pm

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re: Vietnam service Cover with US stamps?

I have just scanned the letter and noticed the date on the letter is May 1971,which now leads me to think that this is not the original letter that was in the cover.
I have just found another cover from the same sender with no letter and this one is cancelled Army & Airforce Postal Service APO Oct 29 1968.
Image Not Found
Image Not Found
Brian

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amsd
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Editor, Seal News; contributor, JuicyHeads
26 Jul 2012
09:19:35am

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re: Vietnam service Cover with US stamps?

one collector to another; nice to see he had some time to himself. 71 is the year of my draft, and had I been born 20 minutes earlier, I'd have been spending time with Sgt Hite.

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cdj1122
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Silence in the face of adversity is the father of complicity and collusion, the first cousins of conspiracy..
29 Jul 2012
01:36:10pm
re: Vietnam service Cover with US stamps?

Currently, this is how mail to service men and women works when they are deployed somewhere outside the USA.
My oldest son just returned after a three year stint, his second one, assigned to a base in Europe. During his service time his unit was moved about, to Italy for the Libyan Operations, Iraq for that Unpleasentness, Bahrain for whatever we were doing there, as well as separate short Temporary Duty assignments in Turkey, The UK, Poland and Denmark.
Yet, mail would reach him reasonably promptly using this address, or in some instances be waiting for him upon return.
M/Sgt A. Jensen, USAF
PSC 9 Box 5811
APO AE 09123-0059


The APO AE means European Theater followed by the Zip of his unit regardless of where he actually was. The "PSC 9" and Box number are designations used on the base

Meanwhile my daughter-in-law was sent to the Far East and spent some time in Korea, Okinawa and Japan. Somehow the US Army managed to always track her down to deliver cards, letters and small parcels as well, using this address;
PSC 303- Box 10
APO AP 96205-0010


My younger son spent about two years on the USS Peleliu (Named after the bloody battle to take that useless piece of coral and sand from the Japanese in WW II.) Over time the vessel travelled to Hawaii, Guam, Australia, Bali and of course, Bahrain and back and while the mail did not always arrive in the original sequence it was sent, and as far as I can recall, it all did arrive.
AE2 E.Jensen, USN
USS Peleliu LHA-5
Box 20/23 ATMD
FPO AP 96624-1620


Interestingly, when I wanted to send him some books after his return to San Diego, I still had to fill out a customs form despite the fact that the ship had been moored in California for several weeks undergoing major repairs. However, had some crisis come up and they had received orders to any part of the world, his mail would follow, eventually.

During the Viet Nam War I mailed a letter to one of my cousins using the military APO-FPO system telling him that my ship was leaving Bremmerton, Washington, heading west and would try to contact him if we got to Saigon again as I knew he was at the big Army hospital in Long Binh I think, it was a long time ago) I do not recall those exact -APO- numbers now, but about a month later when my ship moored at Nha Trang I managed to hitch a ride to Long Binh and arrived a day or two after he received the letter.

And mail to me could have been addressed using the FPO San Francisco despite that that particular ship was civillian manned under contract the Military Suppy Command. Because we usually never knew wher we were bound exactly, or when we might arrive, the mail often didn't catch up with us unless we stayed somewhere for more than three or four days. But despite that it usually did arrive, although one letter to me from my then fiance chased me around the pacific only catching the shipin Long Beach a few days after I had signed off and was travelling east. A few weeks later it arrived at her sister's house on Long Island, NY, as that was the return address she had used. I know I have that cover somewhere in one of the boxes of interesting covers I have accumulatd over the years.

During WWII while we had men and women all over the world, many in constant motion and others on assignments that were better served by some concealment, the list of APO numbers assigned to particular units and their specific location was a military secret. I believe there are some collectors who have spent a lot of time figuring out who was where, when they were there and the actual units that used certain APO/FPO numbers.

So that is essentially how the military mail addresses worked and still do.

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amsd
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Editor, Seal News; contributor, JuicyHeads
29 Jul 2012
05:00:46pm

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re: Vietnam service Cover with US stamps?

the late Richard Helbock wrote a book on WWII-era APOs that has much of the information to which Charlie alludes, but it is still incomplete; it's better on dates than on units, but not exhaustive on either. There's a companion reference book that details APOs through 1994. The former includes relative pricing; the latter doesn't.

David

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snowy12
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29 Jul 2012
09:11:34pm

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re: Vietnam service Cover with US stamps?

Image Not FoundHi Guys
Thankyou for a most interesting explanation.I can see now why the use of the APO numbers ,for security.
Military mail ,I think always has a more interesting story to tell,much more than ordinary commercial mail
Australia Post issued a special cover with the F-111& the F/A 18F with a gold cancel that contained a facsimile of a letter from Sgt. Clem. Hartley written to his mother during WW11 he was in bomber command .
He was killed in action over Germany on the 7th of April 1942.


Brian

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cdj1122
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Silence in the face of adversity is the father of complicity and collusion, the first cousins of conspiracy..
30 Jul 2012
05:07:22am
re: Vietnam service Cover with US stamps?

Thanks david, I could not recall the name of the APO-FPO book of hand and idn;t hav tim to research it yesterday.
When I was in the USCG I spent thee years getting a suntan in the South and Western Pacific. At the time the Coast Guard had Loran Stations all over the world and my ship brought supplies and mail to many of them. Ovr th years I hav tried to accumulate covrs from quit a few and in most instances that discloses the APO that each on used.
Perhaps some day if I get close to all of them I'll create a list.
Now with Global Psystms they have been almost all closed.
Here is a story about my trip to one in the Arctic and the year I spent there.
The Land of the Midnight Sun

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amsd
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Editor, Seal News; contributor, JuicyHeads
30 Jul 2012
01:17:15pm

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re: Vietnam service Cover with US stamps?

you are welcome, Charlie. That Helbock book is for APOs only.

I am finding that contemporary military mail is essentially non-existent; my few contacts are all via internet.

For those who might not be aware, APOs serve Army and Air Force units; FPOs serve Naval and Marine units. In addition, BPOs often serve major land units or are fixed locations; and Navy and Marine personnel aboard ship are usually served by the ship's post office, with the name of the ship, rather than an FPO. This relates only to US military units and has been in place since the first world war, although with some changes, and lots of little variations.

Charlie, how are CG and MM units served?

David

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cdj1122
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Silence in the face of adversity is the father of complicity and collusion, the first cousins of conspiracy..
03 Aug 2012
02:39:03am
re: Vietnam service Cover with US stamps?

Coast Guard units overseas on deployment use the same Navy system of FPOs or APOs. Until recently there has been
a small Coast Guard unit deployed to the north end of the Persian Gulf, operating out of Kuwait, training Iraqis
in protective methods needed to secure the oil platforms off shore of Basra. In fact, a Coastie lost his life recently in a firefight there.

Image Not Found
Coast Guard Damage Controlman 3rd Class Nathan B. Bruckenthal
24, of Smithtown, N.Y.; Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom
killed April 24 in a waterborne attack in the northern Persian Gulf.


Merchant Marine vessels use an address via a company agent who supposedly forwards mail by air to the next planned port of call
where the port agent for the company handles mail, if the ship actually calls there. If not, he forwards mail to whatever port
the ship is redirected to, assuming that is known, or returns it to the main company office in the USA.
The exception was during Viet Nam and probably the recent Gulf War voyages when the vessel is owned by the MSC
(MSC formerly MSTS = Military Sealift Command) but operated under government contract MSC contract.

Image Not Found
( SS Beaver State, a WW II Victory Ship operated by the States Marine Lines.)

During the mid-late sixties I sailed as watch officer on several such vessels, two of which were reactivated WW II "Victory Ships,"
ailing to where ever the MSC chose to send us, usually to one of the several Vietnam ports although one was to Bremmerhaven, Germany.
and another, fondly remembered, to Pusan, Korea with military supplies. The government created a contract with a shipping company
such as Hudson Waterways or United States Lines which became responsible for providing a crew, fuel and supplies on a cost plus basis.
Most of those ships were painted the traditional Navy Battleship Gray, but had a bright Yellow stripe around the stack.
Image Not Found
(USNS Comet, an MSTS ship)

Another method was to simply contract with a shipping company like States Marine Lines to provide one of its ships and a crew
for a six month or one year term.
Either way the vessels received sailing orders and cargo from the MSC and sailed where they were needed.
The mail could therefore be sent via an FPO number or through the companies system of port agents.
Unfortunately, during those years, I expected little mail from home, received what I expected and failed to grasp my future
interest in what I did receive, or for that matter, what other crewmen received.

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drmicro68
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04 Oct 2013
10:46:03pm
re: Vietnam service Cover with US stamps?

David: I am VERY VERY late coming to this thread, but as a member of the Military Postal History Society I know that modern military mail continues to be seen. Each issue of the journal includes listings of new/closing/changing APOs and FPOs. Right now I can't lay a hand on the most recent issue (you don't want to know the problem...) but when I do I'll provide info on membership, etc.

Roger

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