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    Special delivery from Camp Lemonnier

    Special delivery from Camp Lemonnier

    Photo By Chief Petty Officer Joseph Rullo | CAMP LEMONNIER, Djibouti - The Camp Lemonnier Post Office is the only U.S. postal...... read more read more

    Post offices around the world are bustling with activity at holiday time. The rush to meet deadlines to ensure packages are delivered on time can put a strain on even the largest mail processing facilities.

    As the only U.S. Post Office on the continent of Africa, Camp Lemonnier is no different.

    The post office at the East African base is manned by four Sailors and 11 civilian employees who serve 5,500 base residents, the U.S. Embassy in Djibouti and other service members in the area of operation. The 3,500 square-foot facility also processes fleet mail for U.S. ships stopping at the Port of Djibouti for supplies.

    Postal Officer, Logistics Specialists Senior Chief Joelle Pena, said the ramp up to holiday package delivery and shipping begins in early November.

    “We track pounds and during a typical week we process approximately 13 thousand pounds of mail,” Pena said. “Starting in the second week of November, we saw that amount double to almost 26 thousand pounds.”

    Pena said the second week of December was the largest week of the year with nearly 62 thousand pounds of parcels being processed.

    “Friday, Dec. 14, was the largest postal day in Camp Lemonnier history; we had a 100 percent increase from the previous year,” Pena said.

    According to Pena, mail usually arrives from the U.S. in two to three weeks.

    She understands how important it is to deployed service members to receive mail from home. Customer service is a main focus for the people who process the mail and the team works diligently to achieve its goal of a 24-hour turnaround on incoming items. Packages don’t sit undelivered for two or three days.

    “Everyone here knows that people are waiting for their packages. Especially this time of year, they get so excited to get something from home,” Pena said. “We get to play Santa Clause.”

    The building that houses the post office opened in early 2017 and is one of the newest permanent structures on base. Mail is sent by commercial airliners and military aircraft to and from Camp Lemonnier. All mail goes through a hub in Chicago. All packages are manually inspected before sending and those received are x-rayed to check for contraband, which includes alcohol, tobacco and weapons.

    One of the civilian employees, Custodian of Postal Affects, James Wood, has worked at CLDJ’s post office for four years and said he has seen how growth of the base has impacted the amount of mail being processed.

    “There has been a recorded increase every year,” Wood said. “Christmas keeps getting bigger and bigger.” On one recent Friday, there were over 1,200 bags of mail being processed.

    In addition to the increased volume of packages the CLDJ post office handles during the holidays, Unites States Customs laws have an impact here according to Woods. He said during the holidays, people make purchases and sometimes don’t consider how they are going to get it out of the country. Similar to U.S. laws and restrictions, the postal service has its own set of rules based on customs laws. Some common items that cannot be shipped to the U.S. include animal skins, untreated wood and shells.

    One of Camp Lemonnier’s guiding principles is customer service. Pena said her team gives outstanding service to every customer.

    “We understand that not everyone is familiar with the process of shipping something 7,000 miles to home,” Pena said. “My team helps people fill out forms, pick out the right boxes and sometimes, even go so far as helping to wrap presents before they are shipped.”

    Camp Lemonnier is an operationally-focused shore installation that enables U.S., allied and partner nation forces to be where and when they are needed to ensure security and stability in Europe, Africa and Southwest Asia.

    The mission of Camp Lemonnier is to enable joint warfighters operating forward and to reinforce the relationship between the United States and Djibouti by conducting five key shore missions – air operations, port operations, security, safety and quality of life – and providing core mission enablers such as fuel, water and power for tenant commands, transient U.S. assets and individual service members.



    Date Taken: 12.20.2018
    Date Posted: 12.21.2018 08:13
    Story ID: 304754
    Location: DJ

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