TAJI, IRAQ, March 22, 2017 —
While Soldiers no longer have to wait weeks to get a message from loved ones back home in the form of a mailed letter thanks to email and social media, technology still cannot replace the joy Soldiers get when they receive a care package from someone back home.
“Working in the mailroom is very rewarding because we make people happy, we bring the morale up,” said Spc. Stranata D. Hargove, assigned to the 387th Postal Platoon, 178th Human Resource Company, 369th Special Troops Battalion, 369th Sustainment Brigade, 1st Theater Sustainment Command.
The Soldiers of the 387th come in at all hours to receive mail trucks and stay as long as needed to ensure the mail is processed and ready to ensure that Soldiers deployed to Iraq receive their packages and letters. Early mornings, long days and manual labor is what each Soldier working in the mail room puts in everyday when they come to work.
“We receive roughly 30 to 150 bags of mail on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays,” said Sgt. Cassius A. Sanderige, 387th Postal Platoon.
The Army ensures that while Soldiers are deployed overseas, they have the constant ability to send and receive mail. Similar to the U.S. Postal Service, the Army Postal Operations program provides mail services to Soldiers during times of war. Currently, mail distribution takes approximately two weeks to travel to and from Iraq.
“Once we receive the mail we scan it, and let the U.S. Postal Service know that it has arrived here at this post office. Then we sort it by unit,” said Sanderige, “Once the mail is sorted we email the unit and let them know it is ready for pick up.”
The Soldiers of the 387th Postal Platoon work diligently to receive and process mail in a timely manner for all units and service members in the area. They do face some challenges when it comes to receiving and processing mail for service members. Common mailroom challenges can include inconsistent delivery times, having to redirect improperly delivered mail and having to let Soldiers know their mail was damaged while in transit.
“It is nice to see people’s faces light up when they do receive mail, but it is challenging at times,” said Kempker.
The 387th Postal Platoon is one of several postal operations overseen by the 369th Sustainment Brigade. Since October of 2016, the 369th Sustainment has overseen sustainment operations in eleven different countries throughout the Middle East. Operations have included, providing supplies and services to units throughout the U.S. Central Command area of operations and the Brigade has moved over 3.5 million pounds of mail in the past five months.