DCSIMG

The Field Post Office Is About Service

A uniformed man places mail into cardboard boxes.
A soldier sorts mail during disaster relief operations in Haiti, 2010.
U.S. Army photo by Sergeant 1st Class Dave McClain
A soldier sorts mail during disaster relief operations in Haiti, 2010.
Marines wait at mail call at Camp Rhino, Afghanistan.
Marines wait at mail call at Camp Rhino, Afghanistan, 2011.
U.S. Navy photo by Master Chief Photographer’s Mate Terry Cosgrove
Marines wait at mail call at Camp Rhino, Afghanistan, 2011.
Airman checks shipment in Southwest Asia, 2005.
Airman checks shipment in Southwest Asia, 2005.
U.S. Air Force photo by Technical Sergeant Mark Getsy
Airman checks shipment in Southwest Asia, 2005.
Two soldiers read letters outside tent.
Army Post Office tent during the Korean War.
Courtesy National Archives
Army Post Office tent during the Korean War
Postal money order from USS Kanawha.
Postal money order from USS Kanawha.
Postal money order from USS Kanawha. Read more »
Members of 6888th Battalion, Women's Army Corps, work along French civilians to clear the backlog of American military mail in Europe, 1945.
Members of 6888th Battalion, Women's Army Corps, work along French civilians to clear the backlog of American military mail in Europe, 1945.
Courtesy U.S. Army Women's Museum Archives
Members of 6888th Battalion, Women's Army Corps, work along French civilians to clear the backlog of American military mail in Europe, 1945. Read more »

Aboard a ship or in the back of a truck, military post offices abroad strive to provide the same services found at home. Facilities are often cramped, but can handle a huge amount of mail.

Today, military personnel who handle mail must be authorized and trained to do so in accordance with Postal Service and Department of Defense regulations. Working in a war zone and screening for hazardous contents in parcels can be dangerous, but workers get to see the positive effect that mail has on their comrades.


 

Field Post Office in Iraq

 

An interview with Specialist Sergio Tobias as he describes his responsibilities with the U.S. Army, Detachment 3, 394th Postal Company in Kirkuk, Iraq on January 10, 2006.
Video by U.S. Army 133rd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment.

    Listen (2.9 MB): mp3 link to audio Transcript: pdf link to transcript
     

At Sea

Money orders available at field or shipboard post offices were a convenient means of sending funds, and sometimes the only financial service available to transfer money securely. This unused money order was aboard the USS Kanawha when the ship was attacked by Japanese aircrafts and sank on April 7, 1943. This artifact was recovered by divers and presented to surviving crew members on the fiftieth anniversary of the attack.

“With over seven million persons in the files, there were thousands of name duplications. At one point we knew we had more than 7,500 Robert Smiths.”
—Major Charity Adams Earley, 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion



Who Can Tackle a Mountain of Mail?

The 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion was the only unit of African-American women, in the still segregated U.S. Army, to serve overseas during World War II. The women found mail stacked to the ceiling of the postal facility when they arrived in England in early 1945. The battalion worked twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week to provide mail to military personnel in Europe, making a valuable contribution to victory.

       

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