You’ve got mail, morale, love, thoughtfulness

1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division Public Affairs
Story by Staff Sgt. Chris Perkey

Date: 05.30.2018
Posted: 06.04.2018 14:28
News ID: 279497

LAGHMAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan — Every day, crates of joy and morale arrive in Afghanistan in the form of small, medium and large packages and envelopes lifting the spirits of those who serve so far away from home.

Soldiers with 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team “Raiders,” 4th Infantry
Division, in Laghman Province take great pride in processing mail for the
Soldiers and civilians. From the moment the mail flies in to the moment it is delivered to the Soldier, every package is meticulously tracked.

“On average, we receive about 1,200 pounds of mail per day,” said Spc.
Chase Williams, mailroom and human resources clerk, 1st SBCT. “Once a piece of mail is received, it is scanned and logged for accountability. We notify (those who) received mail with a daily digital and print roster.”

Early mornings and after lunch, Soldiers form a line outside the installation mailroom door to see if their name is in the book.

“I have been waiting, for what seems like forever, to receive anything,” said Spc. Rebecca Brock, 2nd Battalion, 12th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd IBCT. After being told she has three letters, Brock was quick to respond. “Now I feel better,” she said.

In a deployed environment, receiving mail means more to the troops. Without the best Internet to access email and text friends and Family, mail is one of the many ways Soldiers remain in contact with loved ones back home.

“Receiving mail from home is a way for someone to feel connected,” said
Sgt. 1st Class Stephenie Imler, human resources NCO, 1st SBCT. “Soldiers can write letters home, send pictures, gifts from the bazaar, take care of legal matters, pay taxes and vote. This keeps the link to their communities open as well.”

In order to keep the morale high and to keep the letters and packages flowing, the mail room must run in an efficient manner. Key factors needed to run an efficient mailroom are certified personnel, communication and organization.

“We ensured personnel were trained on postal operations prior to arrival,
reorganized and alphabetized the shelving to increase storage space, and
interfaced with the postal platoon in Bagram to increase delivery efficiency and accountability with both incoming
and outgoing mail,” said Imler. “We have also established a relationship with our sister unit, 1st Battalion, 1st Security Force Assistance Brigade, (as well as) another installation to ensure their postal clerks are certified to pick up and distribute mail for their personnel.”

The 1st SBCT focuses on customer service when it comes to delivering mail, knowing how much it means to the Soldiers, and Williams plays a big part.

“I believe having a happy, motivated and professional team in the mailroom automatically makes the process better,” said Sgt. Eric Cloutier, mail handler and combat engineer, 299th Brigade Engineer
Battalion, 1st SBCT. “Williams takes the time to get to know customers as they flow in and out of the mailroom and is known to tell a joke every now and again.”

Williams isn’t alone, however. It takes a team to sort, organize and distribute the mail to the Soldiers. The mailroom team is a large part of
the brigade’s morale, and the job is important to the mission.