Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by MOD_Oracle, Dec 7, 2005.
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Thu 8th Dec - Last Free Postage Day
outragious, all post to and from operational theatres should be free all year round.
Yet another thing the govenment are taking away from the sounds of it. I agree with you filbert it should be free, What next, they gonna make you pay for flights into Operational zones?
No the Government gave you free post from 10 Nov to 8 Nov. They are taking nothing away from the original announcement. The change this year is that free parcel post at Christmas is now part of the Operational Welfare Package instead of an ad hoc affair that people can't plan for. In previous years it was announced at the last minute after some relatives had already posted the goods.
In an ideal world of course post would be free all the time, there are several reasons why it isn't:
It costs an awful lot of money. Like it or not the budget is finite. Give you permanent free post and they might have to find savings in (for instance) free phone time or limit your Internet access.
HQ BFPO has to be reinforced for the period of the concession (this is also linked into the cost since if it was permanent they would hire 30 civvies instead of trawling for reinforcements).
The increased tonnage has a real impact on 'in theatre' LofC and the ability to deliver other CSups.
During the rest of the year there is access to the complete welfare package that should allow personnel access to those little luxuries in life.
Even when the post is not free you are given a concessionary rate that is equivelent to the UK inland first class rate approx Â£7 for a 2kg packet. To send the same by civ means could cost you up to Â£30.
As a reminder the OWP consists of:
Free aerogramme letters and e-letters (âblueysâ and âe-blueysâ).
-A free 20 minute phone call to anywhere in the world once a week (this can be supplemented by the purchase of additional phone cards) and an extra 20 minutes are allocated during Christmas week.
-Free Internet access.
-Packets up to 2kg in weight may be sent at a reduced cost equivalent to the UK Inland First Class Postage Rate .
-A generous allocation of TVs and radios to watch/listen to multi-channel British Forces Broadcasting Services TV /radio along with Videos, DVDs and computer games.
-Free books/newspapers and magazines.
-Free board games.
-Access to the Expeditionary Forces Institute (the deployable retail & leisure arm of NAAFI) that will deliver a service across the British area of responsibility.
-Access to basic leisure facilities off duty (gymnasium/fitness equipment, coffee bars and âWetherspoonâ style pubs).
-Access to a Combined Services Entertainment show once during a 6-month tour.
-A visit by a showbiz personality once during a 6-month tour.
-Two weeks Rest and Recuperation during a 6-month tour with an additional 4 weeks leave at the end of a 6-month tour.
-Extra allowances for deployment away from the home base.
-Spouses are issued with additional travel warrants to enable them to visit family members.
-Units are allotted Â£1 per week for every person deployed on operations to enable welfare facilities (such as Internet cafes) to be established for partners and families to use at the home base.
All this is already in the public domain but most soldiers will recognise that some elements are subject to security constraints (such as CSE shows and the complete rollout of EFI).
My final message is that there are an awful lot of people fighting on your behalf to get you these things. Getting the Christmas free postal packets was a hard fought for step in the right direction. It all comes down to money, resources and priorities (the same as your home life really) and difficult decisions are made. I would rather view this as a glass 'half full' issue rather than a glass 'half empty' one.
yes the operational welfare package is a wonderful thing, i saw the EFI supermarket, coffee shop, wetherspoons type pub and all of those other nice things at the welfare village in Shaibah log base twice whilst I was there, driving in at the beginning of my tour and driving out at the end of my tour, because the powers that be decided that the distance between the welfare village and Horsley Lines was too great for those of us that were 'on call' to be able to go there. Fortunately our collegues who werent on call 24 hours a day for the tour were able to go shopping for us if we gave them a list.
The little 'mini-mart' and EFI in the lines were nice but not every day for an entire tour!!
It doesnt matter what is provided, we will always moan, its what we do!
FF - good call
MOD Bloke - Always heart warming to listen to the party line about all you get back at home base. A bit out of Shaibah/Basra and services seriously decrease. Perhaps would be good if you visited units away from your paradise and found out about the facilities there instead. It's a bit different...
How does this work for stabs?
Great answer FF; I had neglected the traditional right to complain under all circumstances in my original post.
I have never seen this on/after any of my operational tours or even in any of the units i served with , its to late for me now but can you advise us of which units it was with, as i am sure they will be getting loads of people trying to transfer into that unit!!
Yep it was always thus and I've been on enough tours to know that not all get everything all the time. When we didn't get access to some of the goodies the colour sergeant would take our orders - that's life.
Those of us on Telic 1 didn't get half of what's available now - and we didn't much care at the time since there was a war to be won. The stuff available to you now stands comparison with any other Army deployed on ops. Looking at the complete OWP package, Shaibah/Basra is the jewel in the crown but its got to go somewhere and we are really only talking about EFI and bars.
If you are not getting access to the free phones, free internet, if your free blueys or your free parcels are not being delivered, if you are not being paid your LSSA, if your are not getting R&R/POL, if your missus isn't getting her free flights home or you are not receiving your papers (albeit they tend to be a bit out of date) then you really need to get the chain of command to sort it out.
For Sabre; R&R is at the commander's discretion but I've rarely heard of it not being granted (we didn't get it on TELIC 1 for obvious reasons). I have never not received my POL at the end of a tour but then I am an infantryman and the battalion would go off together; it might be that you were in a reinforcement role and not looked after by your parent unit. I do know of one example where a unit is not getting POL immediately after a tour (and this was the subject of letters in Soldier Magazine or Sixth Sense (I can't remember which)) but this is extremely rare.
For Stabtiffy; the Â£1 per person per is available to the TA. The Army in particular is good at claiming it for formed TA units, though I think we all realise that the disparate nature of TA families makes the provision of central facilities difficult. It's worth asking your own unit whether it has been claimed and what it has been spent on. We do realise that the TA/Reservists present unique challenges in this area and it's something that is being worked on.
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