New technology at Marine Post Offices on Okinawa assures faster services, shorter wait times

U.S. Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Isaiah TerrellSanders, a postal clerk with Camp Foster Post Office, Marine Corps Installations Pacific, reaches for packages on Camp Foster, Okinawa, Japan, Feb. 15, 2021. The Marine Corps Post Offices are enacting a new system that allows service members and their families to receive their mail in a more timely manner. TerrellSanders is a native of Sacramento, California. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Zachary Larsen)
U.S. Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Isaiah TerrellSanders, a postal clerk with Camp Foster Post Office, Marine Corps Installations Pacific, reaches for packages on Camp Foster, Okinawa, Japan, Feb. 15, 2021. The Marine Corps Post Offices are enacting a new system that allows service members and their families to receive their mail in a more timely manner. TerrellSanders is a native of Sacramento, California. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Zachary Larsen)

New technology at Marine Post Offices on Okinawa assures faster services, shorter wait times

by Lance Cpl. Zachary Larsen
Marine Corps Installations Pacific

CAMP FOSTER, OKINAWA, Japan -- The United States Postal Service on Okinawa is scheduled to change to a new system for notifying and receiving packages on Feb. 16.

The new system calls for customers who are expecting mail to first stop at the service window and have their common access card or status of forces agreement identification card scanned by the postal worker. Then the database will show if the customer has any packages needing to be picked up.

Prior to this new approach, when a package could not fit inside the postal box, the customer would receive a slip of paper stating a package arrived. The postal service previously worked for months trying to find a new procedure that would allow customers to receive their packages faster and more effectively.

“Starting Feb. 16, customers will no longer receive a small slip to inform them of a package,” said U.S. Marine Corps Chief Warrant Officer 3 Christopher Heltebran, the deputy director at Camp Foster post office, Marine Corps Installations Pacific, and a native of Herminie, Pennsylvania. “Customers will still receive the email notifications, but now all they will have to do is show their identification card.”

Heltebran explained that the new digitized system will no longer require signatures. Additionally, paper usage in the post office will drop drastically, and time will be saved from having to print and distribute slips of paper. This will allow customers to be in and out of the post office faster.

“It helps our time and the customer’s time,” said Masayoshi Ishikawa, the supervisor of Camp Foster Post Office, and a native of Ginowan City. “We spend around 20 hours a week creating all of the slip notifications that we give to the customers. With the time saved, we can get customers their mail sooner.”

This new structure of processing will be administered at all seven post offices across the military bases in Okinawa. Feb. 16, is the last day to turn in the verification form for the new database.

“We ask the customers to be patient through this adjustment period,” said Heltebran. “We plan to have other technologies be implemented in the future to improve our processes. It would help us greatly to have customers work with us rather than against us.”

For additional guidance regarding the mail system, follow the Okinawa Japan Marine Corps Post Offices Facebook page where questions may be asked and information is posted daily to keep the community informed.

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