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Applying the Postmark
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Postal Clerk - Military guide to working in a post office
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Managed Mail (MM) Letter Trays
information concerning new stamps and special events well in advance to provide philatelists sufficient time to submit covers (a cover is an envelope on which all the  postal  markings  or  cancellations  have  been applied). When such requests are received, you must:    Ensure that the canceling machine or hand stamp is cleaned and serviced before postmarking the covers.    Furnish a clear and legible postmark.    Avoid  canceling  stamps  by  pen  or  illegible smudging.    Postmark all stamps with black ink.    Limit  postmarking  to  five  covers  from  each collector.    Ensure  that  philatelic  covers  are  not  over canceled, backstamped, or otherwise defaced on the front or back.    Avoid using a philatelic cover as a top piece in a bundle  for  destination-package  labeling purposes.    Avoid bending, folding, mutilating, or damaging the cover by rubber bands. Applying Cachets Occasionally you may be provided a rubber stamp cachet  to  apply  to  philatelic  covers  when  a  special event  occurs. A  cachet  is  a  design  or  inscription applied to a cover to commemorate a postal or special event.  Also, most ships have their own unique cachet. When  a  cachet  is  provided,  place  the  imprint  in  the lower-left corner of the envelope or card so that none of the address is covered. To  protect  the  interest  of  philatelists  and  the authenticity of their collections, the cachet stamp for the  special  event  should  be  destroyed  immediately after all eligible covers have been processed.   In any case, the cachet stamp must be destroyed no later than midnight of the day of the event being commemorated. Returning Covers Covers must be returned to the mailer, without a postmark or cachet applied, with a letter of explanation if:    More than five covers are received from any one collector.    The covers were received after the established deadline for providing postmarks.    The covers bear insufficient or foreign postage. If  international  reply  coupons  (IRCs)  are included, process according to the IMM. MAIL SORTING The  USPS  at  CONUS  gateways  process  all military letter mail through delivery bar code sorters (DBCSs) and flat mail through flat sorting machines (FSMs). Therefore,  CONUS-destined  letters  need only  be  faced,  canceled,  and  placed  in  mail  trays  or secured  with  rubber  bands,  and  placed  in  orange Priority Mail No.1 pouches.  Pouches are to be labeled according to local FMC instructions.   These pouches should be dispatched to the serving USPS facility or to the nearest FMC or MPO for further transfer.   Ships should  dispatch  mail  directly  to  the  appropriate gateway only when they are operating in an area not served by an FMC or an aerial mail terminal (AMT). BUNDLING MAIL After letters and flats have been cased (sorted), you are then ready to bundle the mail for dispatch (or place into  mail  trays,  which  will  be  discussed  later  in  this chapter). To ensure letters and flats remain intact and do not lose their identity during transportation, they must be properly secured before being placed in mail pouches (see figure 9-11).  Bundles should be made as large as one  hand  can  conveniently  hold,  approximately  4 inches thick. Secure  all  letter  bundles  with  1/4-inch  rubber bands  (PS  Item  0385E). Bundles  up  to  1  inch  in thickness  should  be  secured  with  one  rubber  band around the girth.   Bundles between 1 and 4 inches in thickness must be secured with two rubber bands, the first secured around the length and the second secured around the girth.   On the top of each bundle, place a nonstandard facing slip to identify the contents. International Letters Make  up  international  mail  in  direct  bundles  for cities  or  countries  when  volume  warrants. When volume is insufficient to warrant direct bundles, make a mixed foreign bundle.   Identify these bundles by a nonstandard  facing  slip  (see  figure  9-12).   Send  this mail to the serving FMC for further dispatch. 9-22

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