It's the most busy time of the year - for an Army APO

By Story and photos by Sgt. Jill Fischer, 116th Public Affairs DetachmentDecember 24, 2009

CAMP BONDSTEEL, KOSOVO -- The air is cold and crisp; noses are red. The buzz of the conveyor belt muffles the sound of workers talking, as bodies scurry around trying to find homes for each package. The image is quite similar to that of Santa\'s elves the night of Christmas Eve, but its members of the 847th Human Resources Co., Postal Detachment, out of Fort Snelling, Minn., doing their normal duties of the day. It is a Monday morning, the week of Christmas, and it shows for this unit, part of KFOR 12 (Kosovo Forces), Multi-National Task Force-East. "This is the largest truck we have received since we have been here," said Staff Sgt. Michael Jones, Chilicothe, Mo. This morning, the truck containing 210 bags, each with up to five boxes, arrived about a half- hour late. Everybody in the postal detachment rushed to the back mail room to help unload the truck and sort the mail. They knew unit mail clerks would start arriving in a little more than an hour. All of the mail must be sorted into its department's corresponding bins, with all authorized mail being set aside to later be scanned in. "Anything that is certified or registered, insured or needing confirmation, must be scanned in and a PS Form 3883 must be printed so the mail can be tracked along each step of the way," said Jones. Unit mail clerks begin showing up to collect their daily bundles around 10 a.m. Once that is complete, the postal clerks are able to start sorting the few boxes that remain - mail that doesn't have a proper home. Any name, task force title or zip code written incorrectly has a whole different cycle to go through. Each of the packages is cross-referenced, some by as many as three different means. After all that, if the individual cannot be found, the mail is returned to the sender. The Postal Detachment does everything it can to find or redirect packages to intended recipients. The only problem is it takes another 55 hours for the package to return to Germany by truck to be sent to its final destination. About 2:30 p.m., daily, the mail is picked up at the six mail drops around Camp Bondsteel, and at the same time, customers continue to bring in letters and packages to get mailed out. The remainder of the afternoon is spent relabeling, sorting, stamping and bagging mail that needs to be redirected as well as all new mail coming in for the day. All mail brought in before 4 p.m. makes the outgoing daily mail truck returning to Germany that afternoon. Finally, the day is over and the workers are smiling. They just finished the first day to what surely will be an extremely busy week. There was no evidence that the day started the way it did. "Our Postal Detachment clerks are an integral part of our KFOR 12 military family, working diligently to bridge the divide between home and duty station all the time. This is especially true now during this time of joy and separation from loved ones over the holidays," said Brig. Gen. Al Dohrmann, Multi-National Task Force-East commander. -- Multi-National Task Force - East is a U.S. led task force commanded by Brig. Gen. Al Dohrmann. This task force is comprised of nearly 2,200 Soldiers, including Task Force Hellas and Task Force POL/UKR (Polish/Ukraine). The charter mission of MNTF-E is maintaining a Safe and Secure Environment and providing Freedom of Movement for the people in Kosovo. Please contact the MNTF-E Public Affairs office for media engagements or to follow-up on this information. --30-
1 / 3 Show Caption + Hide Caption – CAMP BONDSTEEL, KOSOVO -- The air is cold and crisp; noses are red. The buzz of the conveyor belt muffles the sound of workers talking, as bodies scurry around trying to find homes for each package. The image is quite similar to that of Santa\'s elves the night of Christmas Eve, but its members of the 847th Human Resources Co., Postal Detachment, out of Fort Snelling, Minn., doing their normal duties of the day. It is a Monday morning, the week of Christmas, and it shows for this unit, part of KFOR 12 (Kosovo Forces), Multi-National Task Force-East. "This is the largest truck we have received since we have been here," said Staff Sgt. Michael Jones, Chilicothe, Mo. This morning, the truck containing 210 bags, each with up to five boxes, arrived about a half- hour late. Everybody in the postal detachment rushed to the back mail room to help unload the truck and sort the mail. They knew unit mail clerks would start arriving in a little more than an hour. All of the mail must be sorted into its department's corresponding bins, with all authorized mail being set aside to later be scanned in. "Anything that is certified or registered, insured or needing confirmation, must be scanned in and a PS Form 3883 must be printed so the mail can be tracked along each step of the way," said Jones. Unit mail clerks begin showing up to collect their daily bundles around 10 a.m. Once that is complete, the postal clerks are able to start sorting the few boxes that remain - mail that doesn't have a proper home. Any name, task force title or zip code written incorrectly has a whole different cycle to go through. Each of the packages is cross-referenced, some by as many as three different means. After all that, if the individual cannot be found, the mail is returned to the sender. The Postal Detachment does everything it can to find or redirect packages to intended recipients. The only problem is it takes another 55 hours for the package to return to Germany by truck to be sent to its final destination. About 2:30 p.m., daily, the mail is picked up at the six mail drops around Camp Bondsteel, and at the same time, customers continue to bring in letters and packages to get mailed out. The remainder of the afternoon is spent relabeling, sorting, stamping and bagging mail that needs to be redirected as well as all new mail coming in for the day. All mail brought in before 4 p.m. makes the outgoing daily mail truck returning to Germany that afternoon. Finally, the day is over and the workers are smiling. They just finished the first day to what surely will be an extremely busy week. There was no evidence that the day started the way it did. "Our Postal Detachment clerks are an integral part of our KFOR 12 military family, working diligently to bridge the divide between home and duty station all the time. This is especially true now during this time of joy and separation from loved ones over the holidays," said Brig. Gen. Al Dohrmann, Multi-National Task Force-East commander. -- Multi-National Task Force - East is a U.S. led task force commanded by Brig. Gen. Al Dohrmann. This task force is comprised of nearly 2,200 Soldiers, including Task Force Hellas and Task Force POL/UKR (Polish/Ukraine). The charter mission of MNTF-E is maintaining a Safe and Secure Environment and providing Freedom of Movement for the people in Kosovo. Please contact the MNTF-E Public Affairs office for media engagements or to follow-up on this information. --30- (Photo Credit: Story and photos by Sgt. Jill Fischer, 116th Public Affairs Detachment) VIEW ORIGINAL
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