Postal Clerks: Bringing Hope From Home

10 Jul 2002 | Sgt. Scott E. Peczka

The arrival of mail on a Navy ship is unmistakable. Bundled aboard from helicopters in gaudy yellow bags, the news of its arrival spreads like the most virulent disease, and before long a mob of expectant Marines and Sailors wait patiently for a delivery. Many people complain about how the speed of "snail mail" makes it obsolete in the e-mail age. However, several times during the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable)'s current deployment, security reasons have stopped e-mail and disconnected the phones, but nothing can stop letter mail. "Mail day is exciting for Marines," said Lance Cpl. Sintell Butler, of Holly Hill, S.C., 22nd MEU (SOC) postal clerk. "I see the smiles on their faces when they get a package or a letter and it makes me happy. Mail is a big priority and it is important for morale."Letters and packages from a loved one, family or even a total stranger are a concrete example that someone is thinking of you and cares about you. It's something you can hold on to. The USS Wasp postal office has seen just how much people care about Marines and Sailors of the Wasp Amphibious Ready Group."So far this float we have processed 50-thousand pounds of mail for the Marines and Sailors of the ARG," said Butler. Proving the theory service members like to get mail and are slow to reply, Marines and Sailors have sent off only 25-thousand pounds of mail thus far.Any given mail call can have up to 20-thousand pounds of letters and packages to separate. The Navy and Marine postal clerks work together to sort it out into groups to be picked up by the four MEU Support Elements."On the Wasp, this is our first time out together so we had to adapt to their [the Navy's] way of doing things on ship, but once we got it together we work well together," said Butler.The postal unit on the USS Wasp does, on the average day, about $2,500-$3,000 dollars worth of sales. This includes selling money orders as well as postal fees. The Marines on the Wasp say they appreciate the hard work the postal unit puts in to their job, they also appreciate the letters."It does improve Marines morale because there's nothing like getting news from home," says Staff Sgt. William Ransier, of Woodstock, Va., career planner for BLT 2/6, the MEU's ground combat element. "After getting letters they work harder and are more willing to do the 'less preferred' jobs because everything else is OK."For additional information on the 22nd MEU (SOC), visit the unit's website at
22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit