Even during an electronic age, a mailroom can still have a vital place in society. Marine Corps Logistics Base-Albany is no exception.
Staff Sgt. Anthony Curtis, postal chief and official mail manager at MCLB-Albany, said the base’s post office handles all the mail going in and out of the installation — including for its tenant commands — both official and personal in nature.
For the most part, work in the mailroom is the same routine from one day to the next. The three Marines working in the office get mail from the U.S. Post Office on South Slappey Boulevard. Once it comes to MCLB’s post office, the mail is put through an X-ray machine to make sure it does not contain any threats of a chemical, biological or explosive nature.
The mail is then sent to the tenant commands and divided into personal, accountable and official.
“Most sections have orderlies (to help deliver the mail),” Curtis said. “Some sections, we will deliver to them depending on their circumstances or location.”
The single Marines living in the barracks have their own P.O. boxes, and “circumstances or location” typically refers to a situation in which a section may not have a vehicle or the capability to store their mail, the postal chief said.
The post office’s workload includes an average of 400-500 boxes, letters and packages a day. The Marines in the office, Curtis said, are experienced in their work, so they are able to do their job effectively and efficiently.
One of the most significant mailroom challenges is that the office lacks a finance section, which means its staff cannot provide stamps as a means to fully assist people in getting their mail out. The official mail has many regulations concerning how it should be addressed and packaged, and there are security issues to watch out for.
There once was a finance section at the office, and that is something Curtis would like to see return. If nothing else, it would make sure people do not have to go to an outside post office to buy their stamps.
“It would be a little more work on our part, but I think it would make things easier,” he said.
The mail goes through a lot of hands before it gets to the installation’s post office, emphasizing the need for drills to prepare the Marines there for what to do when a suspicious piece of mail is uncovered.
These drills are on top of the detailed work the Marines in the office do from day-to-day. Curtis said that at some installations, the office may be seen as collateral, but at MCLB, it is considered a billet.
“They test us to keep us in our toes,” he said.
Being a logistics base, the post office at MCLB handles official mail other installations may not. Like other military post offices, the function depends on the role it plays on the installation, the military branch and the primary mission of the base it is located on.
“We process a good amount of mail from (Marine Corps Base) Quantico or (Marine Corps Base Camp) Pendleton,” Curtis said. “I think we are a vital part of the installation.”
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