Fleet Mail Center delivers pieces of home.
From the first letter a Sailor gets at boot camp to the care packages they receive while deployed, mail is a "constant" in the lives of all Sailors and their families.
Sailors, Marines, Japanese Master Labor Contract (MLC) and United States Civil Service (USCS) employees at NAVSUP Fleet Logistics Center (FLC) Yokosuka's Fleet Mail Center (FMC), located in Yokohama, work around-the-clock to ensure timely delivery of military mail for a wide variety of supported commands in the region.
"I remember what it's like being on the ship, and I always try to put myself in their position," said LS2 Luis Ortega, FMC Lead Petty Officer. "By doing so, you understand how much those letters and packages mean to them."
Providing the best possible postal services in support of the 7th and 5th Fleet, 18 Forward Deployed Naval Force (FDNF) ships, 30,000 military and ci;vilian personnel, and all mobile units operating in the Pacific Area of Responsibility is an enormous task that FMC employees successfully deliver on daily.
"We serve all homeported ships in Japan, all visiting or transiting ships in the 7th Fleet and those ships transiting to the 5th Fleet, to include all mobile units, squadrons and detachments," explained Otilio Santos, FMC Postal Manager. "We also serve the commands onboard Yokosuka Naval Station, Ikego housing, Negishi Housing, Naval Air Station Atsugi, Camp Zama, Tokyo Embassy, Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Iwakuni, Commander Fleet Activity Sasebo to include Hario housing, and Okinawa."
The volume of mail processed is a constant to the bases, but the fleet mail volume depends on where the ships are operating, Santos said.
The FMC processes more than 1 million pieces of mail at a total weight of nearly 16 million pounds annually.
"There is definitely a lot of heavy lifting that we do," said LS3 Chris Adams, FMC Logistics Specialist. "But you know the mail you are passing along is from family and friends and is reaching people on deployment, which gives them a little piece of home."
Delivering that piece of home and ensuring the mission is accomplished are what members of the FMC continually work towards.
Santos explained that they are always identifying, evaluating and improving efficiencies. It is the job of a select few highly trained Sailors, who are tasked with routing the mail, to ensure FMC Yokohama is moving the mail expeditiously and efficiently to the customer.
"Our mail routers utilize secure technology to review ships operations, which provides them an up to the minute picture of current ships schedules and future movement to include upcoming Replenishments At Sea (RAS) schedules," Santos said.
"This real-time knowledge aids situational awareness and enables delivery of the ships mail at sea instead of only when the ship makes a port visit," he added.
"Tracking all the mail actions keeps everyone very busy," said LS2 Randy Justice, FMC Mail Router. "We draft up the plan to ensure the mail makes it to the ships on time."
Reestablishment of a postal supply depot in early 2012 is another initiative that has put FMC Yokohama in the pole position with respect to servicing all Military Post Offices in the 7th and 5th Fleet.
According to Santos, the advantage of having the postal supply depot as a ready source of updated postal supplies in the immediate area is that it can provide a two to three day turnaround on requested supplies, instead of ordering from a CONUS source that may take up to 35 days.
"Supplies are my main thing," said FMC Logistics Specialist LS2 Alex Montelbano. "I like when I am able to expedite the customer supply request and provide that quality service."
Providing the best possible customer service is not only LS2 Montelbano's goal but is also shared by the entire FMC, specifically providing service that is equal to, or greater than, that provided by the United States Postal Service (USPS).
In a high-tech world of instant messages, tweets and emails, the act of receiving a letter or package in the mail still goes a long way in support of forward deployed fleet forces and their families. NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka's FMC personnel stand ready to deliver.
Story and Photos by Sky Laron
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|Title Annotation:||Around the Field and Fleet|
|Publication:||Navy Supply Corps Newsletter|
|Date:||Sep 1, 2012|
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