By Staff Sgt. Victor JoecksAugust 8, 2016
A BASE NEAR AMMAN, Jordan - Throughout the world, the military moves hundreds of thousands of tons of supplies every year. But for service members overseas, the most anticipated cargo isn't beans, bullets, or even construction materials. It's letters and boxes mailed from family and friends back home or packages ordered online.
In Jordan, the 4th Platoon of the 912th Human Resource Company, 90th Human Resource Company, 17th Special Troops Battalion, 17th Sustainment Brigade, 1st Sustainment Command (Theater), conducts postal operations for U.S. service members.
Since November 2015, the squad-sized element based in Jordan has delivered an average of 250 pieces of mail per day, weighing over 3,500 pounds. In total, they've distributed more than 345,000 pounds of mail, including processing over 80,000 pounds of mail during the Christmas season.
The Army Reserve Soldiers, based out of Orlando, Florida, understand that while it looks like they're merely handing out packages and letters, they're really distributing Soldier morale.
"Everybody wants their mail," said Spc. Jaime Almodovar, a mail clerk with 4/912th HR Company, who is from New York, New York. "To me, it's a morale booster. Any piece of mail is a morale booster - knowing your family is looking out for you."
It takes an average of five to seven days for a package from the United States to make it to a Soldier in Jordan. Once the mail makes it to the country, Soldiers with the 4/912th pick up the mail from the airport and then sort the packages and letters in their post office.
Mail clerks from their respective units then come and pick up mail for their units and distribute it directly to the unit level. Throughout the process, accountability is maintained through barcode scanning and Soldiers' signatures.
"They [Soldiers] spend hours conducting training," said Staff Sgt. Alexander Rosario, the Jordan post office noncommissioned officer in charge with the 4/912th. "It's the least we can do. When they get back from a long day, having that piece of mail - we see smiles when units pick up mail. It's nice when you're doing something to help other people."
The 4/912th HR Company also provides service members an opportunity to have a deeper relationship with their families.
"It's a connection home, and it's a physical connection home, because I can send items that my spouse and loved ones are going to get to hold," said Marine Capt. Javier Gonzalez, executive officer with Security Cooperation Team Jordan 16.2. "It makes me feel good. It's a good feeling knowing they're [the 4/912th] here supporting us. It makes being away from home much easier."
Packages from Jordan to the U.S. take between 10 to 14 days to arrive, because the mail goes out on commercial planes, which have varying availability. However, before the mail gets to the plane, Rosario's team sorts and tags the mail to ensure prompt delivery.
"A lot of people don't realize we go through that everyday," said Rosario, who's from Orlando. "They even think we get mail from military aircraft. They don't understand that logistical side.
"It's important that we tag it to the right location. That way, there are no delays."
Soldiers in Jordan appreciate the 4/912th HR Company's attention to detail and friendly service.
"It's a nice little vacation when you open the box - whether it's beef jerky or letters. It's nice having someone back home sending you what you can't acquire here," said Spc. Jesse Dzon, an infantryman with B Company, 1st Battalion, 110th Infantry Regiment.