San Diego Navy Postal Facility Meets, Exceeds Increased COVID-19 Mail Demand

By Katesha Washington, Office of Corporate Communications, NAVSUP Fleet Logistics Center San Diego

When the COVID-19 pandemic forced most Americans to stay home, many people who were considered essential to be the lifeblood of the country, stayed on the job and in most cases, increased their workload. The civilians and Sailors at the Regional Navy Mail Facility (RNMC) here were among those essential personnel and have taken on up to 10 times the amount of mail than usual.

Franco Mason, mail clerk with NAVSUP Fleet Logistics Center San Diego, loads packages into a postal bin at the Regional Navy Mail Center in San Diego. – Photo by Katesha Washington

The mail facility, which falls under the purview of NAVSUP Fleet Logistics Center (FLC) San Diego, is operated by 35 Sailors and civil service employees who normally screen and process approximately a ton of mail every day. Since the COVID-19 crisis caused the shutdown of malls and other brick and mortar stores, people have been exclusively shopping online which exceedingly increased the throughput for the mail facility. Now, the mail facility processes on average approximately six to
seven tons of mail a day; a backbreaking feat much larger mail facilities would normally take on. According to James Weber, RNMC deputy postal director, the massive mail load the Sailors and civilians have taken on doesn’t overwhelm them because of the positive attitudes and esprit de
corps of his people.

LS1 Darrell Reed, logistics specialist with NAVSUP Fleet Logistics Center San Diego, moves a package onto the security belt for screening at the Regional Navy Mail Center in San Diego.

“We have some of the best Sailors and civilians working here. They are the reason why we haven’t skipped a beat since the start of the pandemic; true professionals who are making it happen,” he stated.

The mail facility team provides postal support to 252 Navy and Marine Corps units in the metro San Diego area to include over 350 weekly mail stops and operating six official mail centers, so everyone’s attention to detail and expert organizational skills are imperative to mission accomplishment. Just in one day, for example, the mail facility received, screened and processed for distribution, nearly one hundred thousand pounds of mail for six ships: USS Sterett (DDG 104) – 106 pieces weighing 16,654 pounds; USS Ralph Johnson (DDG 114) – 30 pieces weighing 5,566 pounds; USS Halsey (DDG 97) – 97 pieces weighing 16,214 pounds; USS John P. Jones (DDG 53) – 24 pieces weighing 3,080 pounds; USS Princeton (CVL 23) – 76 pieces weighing 10,186 pounds; and USS Nimitz (CVN 68) – 2,583 pieces weighing 47,839 pounds.

Weber says he is extremely proud of the grueling work his teammates are doing and appreciates their willingness to go above and beyond their assigned tasks.

“If people could see the amount of mail that we process everyday now that we are living through this pandemic, people would be shocked that we are getting it done with such a small team. But we are doing it and I, along with the entire management team, are right in the trenches getting our hands dirty,” he explained. “It’s quite impressive and I am proud of the fact that we are helping people get through this thing together. It’s what the NAVSUP FLC San Diego family is all about.”

With no vaccine yet discovered and more cases of the virus being reported, the increased workload will continue. The team at the RNMC is ready and willing to meet and exceed their customers’ expectations 