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35th Logistics Readiness, Force Support Squadrons join forces to keep post office ops moving

The 35th Logistics Readiness Squadron ground transportation team and the 35th Force Support Squadron post office join forces to ensure mail operations continue through COVID-19 at Misawa Air Base, Japan.

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Kevin Leon, a 35th Force Support Squadron postal clerk, moves mail to the front of the truck to be unloaded at Aomori Airport, Aomori, Japan, May 20, 2020. Due to COVID-19, postal operations gradually slowed down because of decreased stateside flights and Misawa airport's suspension of flights, leading all mail operations to flow through Aomori airport instead. The 35th Logistics and Readiness Squadron ground transportation trucks stepped to help transport mail between Misawa Air Base and the Aomori Airport. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Melanie A. Bulow-Gonterman)

The 35th Logistics Readiness Squadron ground transportation team and the 35th Force Support Squadron post office join forces to ensure mail operations continue through COVID-19 at Misawa Air Base, Japan.

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Kevin Leon, a 35th Force Support Squadron postal clerk, prepares outgoing mail at Misawa Air Base, Japan, May 20, 2020. Leon dispatched approximately 550 pounds of mail, which is the maximum amount of mail approved to be dispatched. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Melanie A. Bulow-Gonterman)

The 35th Logistics Readiness Squadron ground transportation team and the 35th Force Support Squadron post office join forces to ensure mail operations continue through COVID-19 at Misawa Air Base, Japan.

Japan Airlines employees load outgoing mail from Misawa Air Base, Japan, onto a cart at Aomori Airport, Aomori, Japan, May 20, 2020. While Misawa Air Base's mail is typically delivered to Misawa Airport, the cancellation of flights into and out of Misawa Airport due to the COVID-19 pandemic has caused mail operations to shift to Aomori Airport. In addition to the daily runs to retrieve incoming mail, every couple of days a 35th Force Support Squadron postal clerk processes outgoing mail, loads it on a truck and delivers it to Aomori Airport for dispatch. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Melanie A. Bulow-Gonterman)

The 35th Logistics Readiness Squadron ground transportation team and the 35th Force Support Squadron post office join forces to ensure mail operations continue through COVID-19 at Misawa Air Base, Japan.

Members of the 35th Logistics and Readiness Squadron and 35th Force Support Squadron postal team unload a truck of mail after returning from Aomori Airport at Misawa Air Base, Japan, May 19, 2020. The Misawa Post Office operated with a staff of 30 personnel all trained to receive, dispatch, process, scan and store mail. However, COVID-19 restrictions made receiving mail challenging in Misawa. Postal clerks teamed with 35th LRS airmen to retrieve packages at Aomori Airport. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Melanie A. Bulow-Gonterman)

The 35th Logistics Readiness Squadron ground transportation team and the 35th Force Support Squadron post office join forces to ensure mail operations continue through COVID-19 at Misawa Air Base, Japan.

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Kevin Leon, a 35th Force Support Squadron postal clerk, carries bags full of outgoing mail at Misawa Air Base, Japan, May 20, 2020. On a weekly basis 7,000 to 10,000 pounds of mail is processed in and out of the post office. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Melanie A. Bulow-Gonterman)

MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan --

The 35th Logistics Readiness Squadron ground transportation team and the 35th Force Support Squadron post office joined forces to ensure mail operations continue through COVID-19 at Misawa Air Base, Japan.

Prior to COVID-19, the Misawa Post Office operated with a staff of 30 personnel all trained to receive, dispatch, process, scan and store mail. Postal clerks previously made three daily runs to Misawa airport to retrieve packages for Team Misawa members, allowing postal clerks to process mail throughout the day.

Over the course of the last few months, postal operations gradually slowed down because of decreased number of stateside flights and Misawa airport's suspension of flights, redirecting mail to Aomori airport.

“Due to the distance and amount of mail that needed to be picked up, we were in need of support, which was when the 35th Logistic Readiness Squadron stepped in,” said Master Sgt. Timeeka McFadden, the 35th FSS postal operations superintendent.

Not just any truck would be able to make this mission happen; on a weekly basis, the post office processes 7,000 to 10,000 pounds of mail. However, the LRS team was able to meet the need.

“Every day one of our drivers teams up with a postal clerk, and the two head to Aomori to pick up the mail together," said Capt. Rahal Belkalai, the 35th LRS deployment and distribution flight commander.

In addition to the daily runs, every couple of days a postal clerk processes outgoing mail, loads it on a truck and delivers it to Aomori Airport for dispatch.
“The biggest challenge has been maintaining the integrity of our work ethic while social distancing, said McFadden. “We have become stronger as a team with one goal in mind. Everyone from Airmen to our Japanese nationals have all stepped in to make sure we operate under USPS guidelines in a timely manner.”

This is the first time LRS aided in postal operations. Typically, LRS works with other sections of FSS, such as the installation deployment readiness cell and installation personnel readiness section to ensure the successful deployment of personnel.

“Working alongside the postal crew has been a positive experience,” said Staff Sgt. Colin Saleet, a 35th LRS NCO-in charge of equipment support. “It is always enjoyable to work with another unit outside of your own. It allows us to see a glimpse into post office’s operations, and what it takes to keep the mail flowing for Team Misawa. I am happy to be apart of the operation that sustains morale for our wing during the COVID-19 time.”
 

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