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Posted: January 19, 2018 11:04 a.m.
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Supporting the team at FOB Fenty

Spc. Elizabeth White/

BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan - The postal team assigned to the 3rd Infantry Division Resolute Support Sustainment Brigade pitches mail Jan. 6 at Forward Operating Base Fenty, Afghanistan. These Soldiers work long days to ensure that mail for the Fenty Soldiers, civilians and coalition forces at the FOB reaches its destination safely.

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BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan - A common theme for sustainment operations in the Combined Joint Operations Area - Afghanistan is maximizing output with minimal assets. Small teams accomplish tremendous amounts of work so quickly that they make their jobs look easy.

Four Soldiers from various companies under the 3rd Infantry Division Resolute Support Sustainment Brigade are packed into a tight garage and surrounded by crates of mail going to all corners of Forward Operating Base Fenty. The members of mail teams are constantly pushing themselves to ensure that Soldiers, coalition forces, civilians and Department of Defense contractors are able to ship and receive their mail in a safe and timely manner. 

Postal Soldiers start their day at the cargo yard retrieving mail brought in by flights or sling load crews from Bagram Airfield. They bring back pallets of mail, consisting of eight crates, or ‘kicker boxes’ that weigh thousands of pounds, to sort at their facility. The team will then begin to pitch the mail, separating the packages into their specific units or contracting companies. Once all of the mail is separated, they scan and organize the boxes to be prepared for unit clerks to pick up.

“We open up at 9 a.m. to start in-processing packages and letters in the customer service area and usually end the day at 5 p.m.,” said Staff Sgt. Melanie Franklin, the military postal custodian of postal effects with the 408th Human Resources Company, Special Troops Battalion, 3rd Inf. Div. RSSB. “We pitch mail in the mornings, middle of the day or in the afternoon depending on flights. During the holidays we got five times the normal amount of mail.”

Since Franklin arrived to Fenty in August 2017, she and her team have processed approximately 100,000 pounds of mail. They process about 10,000 pounds of mail every month, whether it is in-processing mail from the states or delivering packages to forces on post.

Every Soldier can understand the importance of mail in maintaining the morale of troops. There is something so satisfying about being able to receive and send packages to loved ones back in the states. To keep morale high, the postal Soldiers put their all into ensuring packages get to where they need to go. 

“You perform at 100 percent every day, it’s the only way you can accomplish this task,” said Spc. Donovan Stewart, a military postal clerk with the Headquarters and Headquarters Co., 1st Battalion, 501st Airborne Infantry Regiment. “It’s shown me that I’m able to push more, that I have more in me than I realized.”

As the single exclusively military-run post office in the CJOA-A, maintaining Army standards is an important aspect for these postal Soldiers. Since they took over, the team has improved community relations through town hall appearances as well as providing mail handler certification classes. Through their efforts, people are able to better understand the function of the post office as well as the rules for what can and can’t be mailed. When the team eventually heads home, Franklin would like the post office to maintain its high operational efficiency. 

“I’d like to know that Soldiers continue to do a great job and teach the new Soldiers the same standards,” she said. “I want this to be the best military-run post office.”


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