By LS2 Andrea Tucker, Custodian of Postal Effects, Naval Air Station Sigonella
Your package has reached its final destination! The fleet mail center (FMC) knows the importance of what those words mean to those serviced in the Naval Air Station (NAS) Sigonella community and Navy units in the 6th Fleet area of responsibility (AOR). NAVSUP Fleet Logistics Center (FLC) Sigonella has extended that coverage, deploying members from the FMC division to be members of an onsite support team in backing the postal operation of Exercise Trident Juncture 2018 (TJE 18) out of Royal Air Force (RAF) in Mildenhall, United Kingdom (U.K.).
During the holiday season, providing mail support is crucial. TJE 18’s training requirements created an opportunity for the presence of a postal detachment comprised of 24 members from NAVSUP FLCs Sigonella, San Diego, Norfolk, and sites Naples, and Rota. Also included were beach detachment personnel from USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) and U.S. Navy Reservists from Texas and Washington.
[caption id="attachment_8593" align="aligncenter" width="501"]
LS2 Geronimo Lujero (NAVSUP FLC San Diego) delivers a 463L pallet of mail as LSC Leejan Alindog (NAVSUP FLC Sigonella Site Naples) serves as safety. –photo by Lt. Mitchell Fuselier
Behind the scenes, Navy mail was received at the London Heathrow Airport (LHR) coordinated by Air Force personnel assigned to the mail control activity (MCA). The mail was loaded on trucks and routed to the RAF Base Alconbury Aerial Mail Terminal (AMT). At the terminal, all mail was screened, sorted, and reloaded on trucks to corresponding military post offices in the U.K. by AMT personnel.
The Mildenhall postal team arrived an hour prior to opening to allow the Navy detachment to pick up mail that was processed for distribution to Mildenhall. During this exercise, the Mildenhall postal team processed 66,133 pieces of mail for the U.K. and 1,227 pieces of mail for the U.S. Navy. The Navy postal detachment processed 65,000 pounds of incoming mail and 53,000 pounds of outgoing mail. Depending on training requirements of TJE 18, which included around 150 aircraft, 65 vessels, and up to 10,000 vehicles, there were 12,000 to 18,000 pounds of mail on hand to be processed at any given time between these two postal teams.
All mail dispatched from the U.K. was accounted for and documented on generated reports. Navy mail was loaded on to the Mildenhall truck headed to the AMT. There, once again, AMT personnel went through the process of off-loading, sorting, and on-loading mail from all bases in the U.K. to a truck heading to LHR. The MCA team then dispatched mail on their assigned commercial flights returning to the continental United States (CONUS).
“Although these organizations are in the background; they also provide a very important piece of the Navy mail transportation puzzle in support of TJE 18 contingency operations,” said Al Roque, postal operations specialist, NAVSUP FLC Sigonella.
Exercise TJE 18 was described as NATO’s largest visibility exercise since 2015.