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Double duty

Postal inspector lives life of service

DC inspector
Postal Inspector Carroll Harris, who also serves as a lieutenant colonel in the Marine Corps Reserve, helps the Inspection Service with its Operation Protect Veterans initiative, among other duties.

In his role as a postal inspector, Carroll Harris helps protect veterans from scams.

For him, the job is personal.

Harris is a lieutenant colonel in the Marine Corps Reserve who has spent the past 28 years working closely with men and women who wear the nation’s uniform.

“When I first joined the Marines, I was just looking for an adventure,” he said. “It ended up opening a lot of doors for me professionally.”

Harris joined the Marines in 1990 and served for a decade, then left active duty and became an agent with the Drug Enforcement Administration. He worked with postal inspectors on a drug interdiction mission, and hearing their stories encouraged him to switch gears and become an inspector himself in 2008.

Today, he serves as lead for the Inspection Service communications unit at USPS headquarters in Washington, DC.

“As the Inspection Service communications lead, most of the job is collaborating with others to clearly articulate the Inspection Service identity, mission and value to the American public,” Harris said.

His portfolio includes Operation Protect Veterans, a national campaign to warn former and current service members about scams targeting veterans.

USPS, which employs more than 100,000 veterans, is working with the Inspection Service to promote Operation Protect Veterans in May, which is Military Appreciation Month.

Inspection Service National Public Information Officer Andrea Avery said Harris has the drive to make Operation Protect Veterans a success.

“Carroll brings a remarkable energy to every task, which he maintains day in and day out,” Avery said. “I often question if he ever sleeps.”

As a lieutenant colonel in the Marine Corps Reserve, Harris works as a field historian. His job is to deploy with combat units and interview and photograph those who had been involved in combat.

His work is entered into the Marine archives for future use by historians, military planners, academics and the press. He co-wrote a book that documents through photographs the experience of the Third Marine Aircraft Wing during the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

Postal inspectors are required to work 10-hour days, but what free time Harris has is devoted to his family, deer hunting in the winter, and kayaking in the summer. Or, in his words: “Pretty much anything that involves moving and being outdoors.”

Harris plans to retire from the Marine Corps in a couple of years after three decades of service, and he is eligible to retire in six years from the Inspection Service.

“I’m open to the idea of retirement,” he said. “But, if history serves as a lesson, then I’ll probably end up on another adventure.”

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