What Is a Fleet Post Office?

by Lexa W. Lee

A fleet post office or FPO, a branch of a civilian post office of the U.S. Postal System, operates under the Department of Defense and serves personnel serving in U.S. Navy installations and ships.

FPO Mail Handling

Because FPO mail bears either a U.S. military destination or return address, the Department of Defense handles it at some point of its delivery.

Overseas Delivery

FPO mail can either originate from or be sent to addresses outside the U.S., and includes both personal and official communications.

Processing

FPO mail undergoes processing at centralized facilities in New York and San Francisco. Letters arrive in sleeved half trays, flats in sleeved plastic flat tubs, and parcels in sacks.

ZIP Codes

FPOs have ZIP code numbers similar to those of their respective U.S. cities. This allows the U.S. Postal Service sorting machines to correctly process FPO mail.

Delivery

After the USPS sorts FPO mail addressed to overseas destinations, the Navy delivers it to its personnel at FPOs similar to civilian post offices that place the mail into a lock box for each address holder.

About the Author

Lexa W. Lee is a New Orleans-based writer with more than 20 years of experience. She has contributed to "Central Nervous System News" and the "Journal of Naturopathic Medicine," as well as several online publications. Lee holds a Bachelor of Science in biology from Reed College, a naturopathic medical degree from the National College of Naturopathic Medicine and served as a postdoctoral researcher in immunology.