Thursday, March 13, 2008
D-326 - The Government Passport
First off, I am convinced that getting ready for deployment is a million times more difficult for me because I am so far away from the loving bosom of mother Norfolk. I am forced to use Air Force or Civilian facilities to accomplish simple tasks, and they just never know how to deal with a Navy person, or Navy medical record, or who is going to pay for what, etc.
Although my orders do not require an official government passport, my CO recommended that I get one because "you just never know," which is always reasonable logic as far as I am concerned. The problem is, our DOD assistant doesn't know how to do it, the people at the local Post Office don't know how to do it, and I don't know how to do it.
Well, I did some research, downloaded the proper forms, got my picture taken at CVS for $8.49, drafted a letter for letterhead stating the requirement for a "no-fee" passport, and headed off to the Post Office to get the thing signed by Post Office people. The Postal Workers took out their passport instruction and found that while I the federal fee was waived, they were authorized to charge their $25.00 "execution" fee.
The wording there is important, the post office lady said she had to charge me $25.00, I argued that it says you are authorized to charge it, but not that you must. An important distinction but she insisted that it must be paid.
I am beyond pissed off! The United States Postal Service, a federal agency, is authorized to charge me $25.00 in order to sign a piece of paper, which allows me to go fight a war! Literally, they just signed a piece of paper, easiest I've ever seen someone earn $25.00.
I thought the USPS pretended to be some kind of flag waiving, patriotic organization. I am not one of those servicemen who feels entitled to a little something extra from everyone, but the Post Office is a government agency. The least they can do is waive the "signing the passport paper" fee for other federal employees who need an official passport to travel overseas to perform their government job. Further, USPS does not offer any discounted rates for packages being shipped to FPOs. I hate the USPS!
I wonder if mail trucks pay tolls, or get parking tickets. Those bastards.