Whole lotta bundles
Contractors with the Bagram Regional Mail Distribution Center unload pallets of mail from an airplane at Bagram Air Field. The Bagram RMDC unloads at least 200,000 pounds of mail daily during the holidays. (U.S. Army photo by Private First Class Donte Gordon)

By Private First Class Michael Vanpool
TF Aca,!" Lifeliners, 101st Sustainment Brigade
BAGRAM AIR FIELD, Afghanistan, Dec. 10, 2010 Aca,!" Warrant Officer Thaddeus Lumar says mail is about transportation, storage and relationships.
Aca,!A"When you receive 200,000 pounds of mail a day, a slow day for mail in Bagram during the holiday season,Aca,!A? said Lumar, the mail movement officer in charge of the Bagram Regional Mail Distribution Center, Aca,!A"you have to have enough space to store the mail from the elements, and enough transportation assets to get it out of Bagram before the [U.S. Central Command] mandate of 72 hours.Aca,!A?
The holiday season is the busiest time of the year for postal centers. Families and friends send letters, cards and packages to their loved ones across the U.S. and overseas.
The 510th Human Resources Company, 101st Special Troops Battalion, 101st Sustainment Brigade at Bagram Air Field makes sure that mail reaches the hands of thousands of servicemembers deployed to Afghanistan.
The Bagram Regional Mail Distribution Center, operated by the 510th HR Co., receives mail for five Army Post Offices and 14 Satellite APOs throughout Afghanistan.
They receive hundreds of thousands of pounds of mail each day from the Military Distribution Center in Bahrain, said First Lt. Liz Evans, executive officer for the 510th HR Co. The MDC in Bahrain is the central hub for all military mail for forces deployed in the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility.
The Soldiers and civilian contractors at the RDMC prepare for incoming pallets of mail from Bahrain before the plane lands on Bagram, so that it will be processed within 24 hours, Evans said.
All mail is documented by date of arrival to guarantee it moves to its next destination within 72 hours, and it is sorted by zip code, Evans said. The zip codes tell the postal workers which Forward Operating Base or Combat Outpost to send the letters and packages.
There is constant communication between the Bagram RDMC, the outlying FOBs, contractors and transportation while the mail is processing at Bagram, Lumar said.
Aca,!A"When 300,000 pounds of mail arrives two, three days in a row, there is no room for error when it comes to onward movement,Aca,!A? said Maj. Marilyn Walls, commander of the 510th HR Co. Aca,!A"We simply do not have the storage space for that amount of mail, so we move it. We work side by side with the contractors and the Air Force to ensure the flow thru of mail is constant.Aca,!A?
Army Post Offices at the Forward Operating Bases receiving the pallets of mail from Bagram break down incoming mail to the unit level and coordinate with Brigade Support Battalions to ensure the mail reaches the Soldier, Evans said.
The Bagram RMDC and outlying APOs prepare for the sharp rise in the amount of mail during November and December.
Aca,!A"Mail volumes increase 250% during the holidays,Aca,!A? Evans said, Aca,!A"so augmentees and volunteers are a great benefit to the mail processes and always appreciated.Aca,!A?
The Bagram RDMC received seven augmentees from the 1/376th Postal Platoon and the 3rd Human Resources Sustainment Command to assist during the holiday season, Evans said. Aca,!A"It may seem like the extra help is minimal,Aca,!A? she said Aca,!A"but one person working a 12-hour shift can potentially pitch 5,000 pounds of mail. Any additional volunteers make a difference.Aca,!A?
Soldiers across Bagram are volunteering their time to help the letters and packages reach the servicemembers across Afghanistan.
Aca,!A"I never understood how mail works until I volunteered,Aca,!A? said Sgt. Shenna Keller, a volunteer for the 510st HR Co. Aca,!A"Now, I know just how much time and energy is needed to ensure each package goes to the correct unit mail bin. I donAca,!a,,ct know how people do it every day. IAca,!a,,cve never seen so much mail in my life.Aca,!A?
The 510th HR Co. arrived at Bagram in early 2010, and they have spent the past several months guaranteeing that all mail arrives at its final destination.
Aca,!A"We have been working mail for ten months, 24 hours a day,Aca,!A? said Evans, Aca,!A"itAca,!a,,cs all we think about, and we will not accept failure.Aca,!A?

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16