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Generating morale one parcel at a time

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Michael O'Connor
  • 51st Fighter Wing Public Affairs
In the early 1860s, the Pony Express was responsible for delivering mail along a 1,966-mile long delivery route between St. Joseph, Mo., and Sacramento, Calif.

Nearly 100 riders galloped their way across the plains and mountains aboard more than 400 mustangs and Morgans assembled at approximately 190 relay stations averaging 10 to 15 miles per horse.

While it's been nearly 146 years since the days of the Pony Express, for the Airmen and civilian employees who work at the Osan Post Office, the mission of mail pick-up and delivery is just as important and demanding as it has always been.

"At Osan, we have a 23-person team of dedicated military postal clerks currently working six days a week processing more than 3.2 million pounds of mail annually for assigned and transient customers," said Tech. Sgt. John Hilinski Jr., 51st Communications Squadron. "The postal operation at Osan is a daunting task even for the most brave of heart."

With this type of mail volume the post office is always seeking assistance through volunteers.

"If it wasn't for our successful volunteer program, we would not be able to consistently meet our standard mail delivery schedules," said Sergeant Hilinski. "Volunteers provide the post office with a viable means of back-filling our military postal clerks in times of increased mail volumes, thus allowing our staff valuable time for in-house training."

The Osan Post Office currently services a population of more than 11,000 active-duty, DOD civilians, contractors, and retirees, as well as transient servicemembers supporting various training exercises throughout the year. There are 8,500 receptacles in the postal facility and 80 activity distribution offices throughout the peninsula.

"Our motto here at Osan is 'No Mail, No Morale,'" said Sergeant Hilinski. "The bottom line is without our volunteers mail could be delayed, which in-turn could affect the wing's morale."

In the fourth quarter of 2006, 160-plus volunteers donated more than 670 hours, mostly during the holiday season between mid-November and mid-January.

Although the holiday season is when the post office has its greatest need for volunteers, qualifying military and civilian personnel can volunteer at any time of the year. Typically, the busiest days of the week are Mondays and Wednesdays from 6:30 a.m. to noon.

At a minimum, volunteers must be at least 16, be a U.S. citizen, and complete a Postal Service Form 8139--Your Role in Protecting the Security of the United States Mail.

Groups or individuals interested in volunteering at the Osan Post Office can call a volunteer service coordinator at 784-4655, or stop by in person to request more information.