Barbero Missile Mail1

In 1959 Barbero assisted the United States Post Office Department, predecessor of what in 1971 became today's United States Postal Service (USPS), in its search for faster, more efficient forms of mail transportation. The USPS
tried their first and only delivery of "Missile Mail", though the idea of delivering mail by rocket was not new. Shortly before noon on 8 June 1959, off the northern Florida coast, Barbero fired a Regulus cruise missile towards the Naval Auxiliary Air Station, Mayport, Florida. Twenty-two minutes later the training type missile landed at its target; its training-type warhead having been configured to contain two official USPS mail containers.

The USPS had officially established a branch post office on Barbero and delivered some 3,000 pieces of mail to it before Barbero left Norfolk, Virginia. The mail consisted entirely of commemorative postal covers addressed to President of the United States Dwight Eisenhower, other government officials, the Postmasters General of all members of the Universal Postal Union, and so on. They contained letters from United States Postmaster General Arthur E. Summerfield. Their postage (four cents domestic, eight cents international) had been cancelled "USS Barbero 8 June 9.30am 1959" before the boat put to sea. In Mayport, the Regulus was opened and the mail forwarded to the Jacksonville, Florida Post Office for further sorting and routing.2


1) Cover for sale on eBay November 2010 - Starting at US$2000
2) Text from Wikipedia

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Last modified on 17 November 2010