Post office Marines give it their all
MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP SMEDLEY D. BUTLER, OKINAWA, Japan -- Across the world, family members and friends send presents and mail to show their love, care and support for their loved ones away from home.
For service members and Status of Forces Agreement personnel on Okinawa, sending and receiving mail is an exciting process that maintains a connection between loved ones.
“You’re spending your holidays away from your family and friends, so any little thing that can remind you of (home), like getting presents (in the mail) for kids, brings a sense of excitement, joy and anticipation,” said Gunnery Sgt. Thurman McNeill Jr., the staff noncommissioned officer in charge of the Camp Foster Post Office. “You know it’s going to bring smiles to kids’ faces on Christmas day. We make that happen.”
Recently, U.S. post offices across Okinawa posted flyers encouraging people to mail their letters and packages early to ensure the items get to their destination before the holidays.
On an average day, Marine installations on Okinawa receive about 500 pieces of mail, according to Lance Cpl. Stephen M. Lasalle, a postal clerk with the Consolidated Post Office, Marine Corps Base Camp Smedley D. Butler, Marine Corps Installations Pacific. During the holidays, the number of mail triples and for the month of December they receive approxiately 24,000 pounds of mail.
The post office Marines and master labor contractors quickly form a line ready to scan bar codes and put the mail in its respective place, according to Schellentrager.
The Marines and MLCs work long hours with quick lunch breaks on busy days to make sure the mail is delivered on time. One way people can help is to send their mail out early.
“Our job is to deliver the mail on time,” said Carlos Goya, an MLC at Camp Foster’s post office. “Nobody can move the time. We need the help from the customers and the community to make this mission possible.”
The post office Marines and MLCs share the joy of giving and receiving packages and want to extend that joy to others by getting their mail to them in a timely manner.
“Receiving a package is the best feeling in the world because it’s like a little taste of home,” said Schellentrager. “Your mom, your brother, your sister, someone who cares about you, wrote this for you.”
If personnel wish to send their packages first class, the deadline for mailing is Dec. 20, priority mail is Dec. 21, express mail is Dec. 22, parcel post is Dec. 14, and the parcel airlift mail deadline is Dec. 3.