Postal service improves for Marines during second Iraq deployment

23 Apr 2004 |

CAMP FALLUJAH, Iraq - For Marines in Iraq there is no more waiting weeks, or sometimes months for their letters or care packages, even amidst combat operations throughout the Al Anbar province.

Mail delivery was a challenge during the last deployment to Iraq because units moved so quickly and so often. But now the wait for a letter or package is down to approximately ten days.

The only hurdle with getting the mail delivered on time these days is the delay in convoys due to the threat of improvised explosive devices on the roads, said Staff Sgt. William L. Elver, 38, who runs operations for the post office here.

The Marines, some who are here for their second deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, are already noticing an increase in frequency of mail delivery.

"Last year we moved around a lot, we were pretty much mobile the entire time, so it could take two weeks, or it could take two months to receive a package, depending on where we were," said Cpl. Jason R. Ramos, 22, Kansas City native, and a 1st Force Service Support Group disbursing clerk.

The post office is adapting its policies to cater to the camp residents and ensures mail is delivered as soon as possible.

"Last time we would wait until a unit had a letter tray filled before we would deliver it," said Elver. "This deployment, even if there's only one letter, we'll send it out."

Lessons learned last year are being applied in order to provide better service.

"Experience and our ability to give pre-deployment briefs telling families how to send packages and what not to send has made the postal service quicker," said Elver, a Mt. Horeb, Wis., native.

The improved system is raising morale for some of the Marines.

"Getting mail makes me feel like I'm not so far away from home," said Cpl. Jennifer L. Lewis, 28, Brockton, Mass., native, and the I MEF comptroller chief.

Postal Marines here suggest families and friends do not send perishable or fragile items. In addition postal regulations do not permit pornographic materials, pork or pork byproducts, or alcoholic beverages to be sent.