Solid process makes post office success

OSAN AB, Republic of Korea -- Staff Sgt. Thomas Arita, a military postal clerk with the 51st Communications Squadron, unloads packages at Osan’s Post Office. Postal clerks process more than 500 pieces of mail a day.

OSAN AB, Republic of Korea -- Staff Sgt. Thomas Arita, a military postal clerk with the 51st Communications Squadron, unloads packages at Osan’s Post Office. Postal clerks process more than 500 pieces of mail a day.

OSAN AB, Republic of Korea -- Five hundred per day, 2,000 per month and 13 million per year … these are just a few of the mind-boggling numbers associated with the operations of the Osan Post Office.

Despite these numbers, the key for the post office to be successful is a solid operational process and the way they manage the massive quantities of mail received every day.

All mail is sorted the day it arrives at Osan. First class mail (letters) goes directly to the mailboxes of Team Osan patrons. Parcels or packages are placed into large storage bins and a yellow dated slip is put into individual mailboxes.

For parcels, this is just the beginning. From here, post office patrons have 15 days to pick up their parcels. If parcels are not picked up, patrons will receive a second slip in their mailbox as a final notice. Once a final notice is received, individuals have an additional 10 days to pick up their parcels.

The post office does more than just put notices in mailboxes; they begin tracking down individual mail recipients.

“After the final notice is put in the mailbox, we try to contact the individual who has a parcel to pick up. If we are unsuccessful, we try contacting their unit or first sergeant,” said Master Sgt. Albert Acoba, Osan Air Base Post Master.

The goal is to establish whether or not the individual is still at Osan. If they are, but are simply on leave, TDY or out of the area, then the package is kept in storage at the post office for pick-up at a later date.

“The Department of Defense spends about 13 million dollars per year bringing mail in and out of South Korea,” the Post Master said. “We try to limit using funds to send packages back to the sender. On average we only send 10 to 15 parcels back per month due to not being able to contact mail recipients."

“It's important to realize that although the post office will exhaust all measures before mail is returned to sender, the post office should not be viewed as a storage facility,” said 2nd Lt. Cieara Carson, 51st Communications Squadron, Support Flight commander. “The sooner customers pick up their mail, they help us to reduce the large number of packages maintained in our limited space.”

Bottom line, the more information Team Osan members give the post office, the less chance they have of having a package sent back to the states. Customers need to provide as much information as possible when they first in-process and receive a mail box, to include full name, e-mail and unit. In addition, it is highly recommended customers fill out a mail hold slip prior to taking a mid-tour, to ensure all of their mail is still at Osan when they return.

“Another tip on mail is to use your entire address every time, name, unit and PSC and BOX number,” Master Sgt. Acoba said. “This is another way we can track you down when you have items for pick up and sort the 500 packages and more than 700 pieces of first class mail we receive each day.”

“Military mail is a service we are honored to provide, but we need your help in providing us updated information so we can better serve you,” Master Sgt. Acoba concluded.