From the "Saudi Spearhead"
Issue 2 - January 3, 1991
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BELOW, full text of article:


By Spearhead Staff

Delivering letters and packages in rain, snow, sleet and even in the dark of night is a routine job for members of the 795th Postal Company, but few thought they would be doing it in the deserts of Northern Saudi Arabia.

"So far, we're getting the rain and dark of night," said SgL 1st Class Richard L. Roberts of 4th Platoon, 795th Postal Company, an Army Reserve unit from Belton, Mo. "But we hadn't counted on the adverse weather conditions and difficulty in maintaining a logistical chain to keep the mail flowing."

The postal tent at the 3rd Armored Division Rear is easily recognized by the flood of activity that surrounds it 24 hours a day. There is a seemingly endless flow of trucks carrying pallets of packages and mail. Volunteers from all across the compound surrender their free time to help unload and sort mail.

"I think it's great," said Spec. Mark Beny of A Battery, 40th Field Artillery. "Mail is really the greatest morale builder there is. I'll gladly volunteer as much time as possible to see that it's delivered."

Even with volunteers, the working hours for the men and women of the 795th are exhausting. "We usually work 10 or 12 hours and then take eight off for sleep, personal hygiene and letter writing," said Roberts. "Then we're back on top of it again.
"We expect the hours to taper off as soon as this backlog of mafl is delivered," he said with relief.

"As of January 2nd we've delivered 80,000 letters and 13,400 boxes and packages. Outgoing letters number 87,000 and 560 packages," Roberts said.

The five platoons of the 795th Postal Company are commanded by 1st Lt. Elizabeth Richardson, who is with two of the company's platoons on duty with the 1st Armored Division. The other two platoons are assigned elsewhere within the Theater of Operations.

The 4th Platoon, assigned to support the 3rd Armored Division, is commanded by 1st Lt. Brent Jackson. "We arrived in Saudi Arabia on the 16th of December," Jackson said. "Morale was beginning to ebb a little during and just after the holidays, but we started getting some mail of our own and everyone's attitude really rebounded."

Jackson said the average age of the soldiers in his unit is 19.5 years old. But Jackson said, "They're gaining maturity every day, despite less than optimum working conditions, plus inadequate supplies and transportation systems."

"We understand that the Army's first concern has to be 'beans and bullets' for the front line troops, so we do the best job we can with the equipment we have."

Of course, all the letters coming out of Operation Desert Storm is postage free. However, packages going back to the United States require postage. "We have a system for handling non- appropriated funds," said Roberts. "We collect money for stamps and turn it over to finance. They, in turn, give us a check, which is used to buy more stamps from the post office.

"We operate under United States postal regulations and much of our equipment is on loan from them. With the amount of certified and insured mail, we have to be very careful with security. It's necessary to post a full-time guard on the mail to ensure its safe
delivery," Roberts said.

"I think these guys are doing a wonderful job," said Chief Warrant Officer Danny Thompson, HHC 4th Battalion, 8th Infantry. "A friend of mine received mail from his wife and kids despite having the package becoming accidentally soaked with rain. The box fell apart but the contents were placed into a plastic bag and delivered intact."

"We were all overwhelmed by the attention these people put into doing their jobs well."


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