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On a mission

Base’s soldiers move mail — and morale

Army soldier holds package
Staff Sgt. Melanie Franklin inspects a package at Forward Operating Base Fenty in Afghanistan. Image: DVIDS

A small team keeps the mail moving on one U.S. military base in Afghanistan, but its members have a big effect on morale.

The four Army soldiers work on Forward Operating Base Fenty, which is located near Jalalabad Airport in eastern Afghanistan. Their job: to ensure their fellow soldiers and other people on the base can send and receive mail in a safe and timely manner.

“You perform at 100 percent every day. It’s the only way you can accomplish this task,” Spc. Donovan Stewart, a military postal clerk, told the DVIDS military news site.

Stewart is one of many members of the armed forces whose contributions are being recognized in May, which is Military Appreciation Month.

At Forward Operating Base Fenty, the mail team works inside a garage, where the members process about 10,000 pounds of mail each month.

The mail and packages arrive on flights from Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan and get organized into pallets consisting of eight crates that weigh thousands of pounds. Once the crates are unloaded, the mail team sorts the contents.

“We pitch mail in the mornings, middle of the day or in the afternoon depending on flights. During the holidays we got five times the normal amount of mail,” Staff Sgt. Melanie Franklin, another military postal clerk, told DVIDs.

Since last year, the mail team has worked to foster stronger community relations on the base, including holding town halls and educating soldiers on mailing rules and regulations.

Said Franklin: “I want this to be the best military-run Post Office.”

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