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Mildenhall Post Office Team: 'The Mail Must Go Through'

May 29, 2020 | BY Air Force Airman 1st Class Joseph Barron , 100th Air Refueling Wing

The 100th Force Support Squadron post office, at Royal Air Force Mildenhall, England, has continuously provided mail services during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The support agency has implemented changes for mail handling and retrieval to protect both patrons and the airmen working at the post office.

An airman delivering mail.
Postal Clerk
Air Force Airman 1st Class Donovan Sterling, a military postal clerk with the 100th Force Support Squadron, delivers a letter to a customer’s mail box inside the post office at Royal Air Force Mildenhall, England, May 19, 2020. Airmen are able to access their mail boxes 24 hours a day.
Photo By: Air Force Airman 1st Class Joseph Barron
VIRIN: 200519-F-PZ401-1059C

"We're making sure everyone is spaced 6 feet apart in the parcel pick-up line," said Air Force Airman 1st Class Joseph Brown, a military postal clerk with the 100th FSS. "In order to enter the post office, you have to be wearing a face mask. We would also previously hold the [common access card] to look at the person's ID, but now the patron is just showing it to us."

The post office has established additional preventive measures by installing transparent barriers on customer service, finance and parcel pick-up windows to add protection between patrons and postal workers.

"It's a sturdy piece of material that protects us and the customer," said Air Force Airman 1st Class Alexa Mesman, a military postal clerk with the 100th FSS. "We have them on all of our windows now. We want as much safety as possible for both us and the customer when we're interacting with them."

An airman handling mail.
Mail Room
Air Force Airman 1st Class Austin Wells, a military postal clerk with the 100th Force Support Squadron, shelves a basket of mail inside the post office at Royal Air Force Mildenhall, England, May 19, 2020. The post office has extended holding times for packages due to COVID-19.
Photo By: Air Force Airman 1st Class Joseph Barron
VIRIN: 200519-F-PZ401-1029C

The measures put in place have supported the continued delivery of mail to airmen during the pandemic.

"There's no better feeling than when you receive a package," Brown said. "We're the middleman between home and the people living here. We're the branch that connects them together."

In addition to processing personal mail, the office continues to handle official mail necessary for continued military operations.

"We take care of mission-essential requirements that have to come through the mail, whether it's laboratory samples that need to be sent out, money that helps financially support the base or investigation-related materials," said Air Force Master Sgt. Aisling Loftus, the postal superintendent with the 100th FSS. "It's not just morale, cookies and letters."

Airmen inventory packages.
Mail Sort
Postal clerk airmen inventory packages at the post office at Royal Air Force Mildenhall, England, May 19, 2020. Newly arrived packages are processed to ensure accountability of mail and to alert customers to when their order has arrived.
Photo By: Air Force Airman 1st Class Joseph Barron
VIRIN: 200519-F-PZ401-1018C

The COVID-19 pandemic hasn't stopped the delivery of personal and military correspondence, but it has resulted in unpredictable volumes of mail.

"Sometimes we would receive a mail truck and there would be nothing in it," said Air Force Senior Airman Alexis Cooper, a military postal clerk with the 100th FSS. "Other times there would be five pieces in it, then the next day it could be 400 pieces."

Despite the demands of COVID-19, postal workers continue to prevail in processing mail to support the base.

"We have a new process going on due to COVID-19, and we're still learning as we go," Brown said. "Be patient with us. We're here to serve, and we're here for you."