DCSIMG

The Mail PieceChanging Media, Consistent Content

Postal clerk processes mail in the post office aboard USS Nimitz in the Pacific Ocean, 2008.
Postal clerk processes mail in the post office aboard USS Nimitz in the Pacific Ocean, 2008.
U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Michael N. Tialemasunu.
Postal clerk processes mail in the post office aboard USS Nimitz in the Pacific Ocean, 2008.
Soldiers in Vietnam relax with their hometown newspapers, 1967.
Soldiers take a break with their hometown newspapers, delivered with their regular mail in Vietnam, 1967.
Courtesy National Archives.
Soldiers take a break with their hometown newspapers, delivered with their regular mail in Vietnam, 1967.
38 rpm album from “USO” with graphics of a ship, tank, and aircraft flanking four service members.
During World War II, military personnel could record a message onto a phonograph album and mail it home.
During World War II, military personnel could record a message onto a phonograph album and mail it home.
Unfolded letter
Letter by naval surgeon David Shelton Edwards to his wife, Harriet , May 31, 1835.
Letter by naval surgeon David Shelton Edwards to his wife, Harriet , May 31, 1835. Read more »

Technological innovations have transformed the way personal messages and official mail have been sent. Mail options expanded in the 1940s to include recorded messages and microfilmed letters. Today, computer technology allows electronic communication to be combined with traditional letters and packages in new ways.

The volume, size, and weight of mail has typically increased during wartime. Developing new procedures, trying different routes, and using diverse means of transportation are all ways that the postal system has continued to expand its capacity to meet the needs of military personnel and their communities.

Almost Like You Never Left

A reasonably reliable mail service allows service personnel to stay connected with those at home. Even in 1835, Navy surgeon David Shelton Edwards was able to manage his New York household despite being stationed far from home at the Pensacola Navy Yard in Florida. Through frequent correspondence with his wife, Edwards remained involved with his family and sent orders regarding the running of the house.

“My heart tells me I shall get a letter from you this evening unless the late heavy rains have so overflowed the country in Georgia as to stop the mail.”
—Surgeon David Shelton Edwards to his wife, June 22, 1835


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