MARINE CORPS AIR STATION IWAKUNI, Japan --
Station residents scramble to the post office in hopes of sending their gifts before the holidays arrive. Marines with the Mainside Post Office aboard Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, are Santa Claus’ biggest helpers and rein the flooded mailroom during their busiest months of the year.
Each day during the holiday season, the post office sends more than 700 pounds of mail and receives more than 3,500 pounds of mail.
Frantic delays of packages might be inevitable, but postal Marines overseas continue to push through the demanding overload of mail to keep service members connected back home.
“This is actually a great time for us because we get to see more of the customers on a daily basis and we can see the joy they get from receiving their Christmas packages,” said Cpl. Kiarra Bronston, assistant non-commissioned officer with the Mainside Post Office. “When we hear the customers actually say, ‘thank you, you guys are important to us,’ it makes us feel like we aren’t just postal, but we’re actually contributing to the overall mission of the Marine Corps.”
The transition to a foreign lifestyle can be difficult for service members and families especially during the holidays, but incoming mail can sometimes be the little piece of home they need.
“The post office is important because it’s not like you can go to Wal-Mart, you have to order or send a majority of everything,” said Bronston. “Which means all of the gifts will be coming through the post office.”
Postal Marines take on elongated work hours when mail value increases, in order to sort, organize and clear the office by Christmas.
“It’s chaotic. It’s a lot of mail going in and out. We just try to keep up with the pace,” said Bronston. “You work until the job is done. So if that means we have to stay back later, then that’s what we have to do.”
According to Staff Sgt. Joseph J. Felton, assistant postal chief and operations chief with the Mainside Post Office, teamwork and unit cohesion are a definite must when it comes to his 28 Marines handling the long hours and packed mailroom.
“Without a doubt, teamwork is a huge part of what makes our office run smoothly,” said Felton. “It’s about providing great customer care and getting mail out as fast as possible.”
Working together in any clime and place is normal amongst Marines, and the mailroom is just another mission to complete.
“Especially during this time of the year, postal is very important and keeps the Marines linked back home,” said Felton. “It’s such a big deal for us out here, especially for the kids, to receive letters and gifts from home.”
To contact the Mainside post office, please call 253-3114.