NAVSUP Fleet Logistics Center (FLC) Jacksonville’s postal operations team recently developed an innovative response to help manage the large and steady flow of mail to aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69). By working with USPS to re-route mail and by installing a secure shipping container at NAS Jacksonville, the ship's shore-based mail handling personnel were granted round-the-clock access to mail.
According to Michael Heard of NAVSUP FLC Jacksonville, “The CONEX box allows ships’ Beach Detachment personnel the 24-hour access that is ideal for early C2 aircraft departures and late evening retro-grade mail arrival, while providing required security for the mail.”
In addition to securing postal storage is the work that went on behind the scenes to ensure the mail was appropriately re-routed. NAVSUP FLC Jacksonville Postal Operations Director, Otilio Santos stated, “Getting the mail routed to the Air Station seems like a simple task, but USPS muscle memory is that ships’ mail is transported to Naval Station Mayport.” He went on to say, “Mr. Heard was instrumental in rewiring that muscle memory by working directly with the USPS Network Distribution Center to ensure CVN 69 mail arrives at NAS Jacksonville.”
Heard further explained, “The initiative saves valuable time for Beach Detachment personnel as they are no longer required to travel 60 miles round trip on a daily basis to Naval Station Mayport to receive and transport ship’s mail. This Mayport run challenged meeting scheduled C2 flight times and that is no longer an obstacle.”
Dwight D. Eisenhower’s Supply Officer, Cmdr. Andrew Henwood, explained how the effort of shore-based postal personnel connected to the ship’s process improvement for mail delivery, “Having gained a better understanding of the mail and cargo routing process during the Composite Training Unit Exercise (COMPTUEX) that IKE completed less than a year ago, we applied lessons learned and decided to be much more aggressive with pushing mail forward from Norfolk to Jacksonville. Rather than wait to load mail onto Military Sealift Command ships to receive during underway replenishment, we maximized the use of our Carrier Onboard Delivery (COD) air assets to ensure every flight leaving the beach and coming to IKE utilized all possible cargo space.”
In three weeks, Dwight D. Eisenhower took on more than 37,000 lbs. of mail routed through Jacksonville. Henwood added, “The results were immediately realized and greatly improved crew morale. Ike received more mail during the first three weeks of our 2021 COMPTUEX than we did over the first three months of our 2020 deployment. This would not have been possible with the efforts of the hard-working team at NAVSUP FLC-Jacksonville who went above and beyond to ensure the timely processing and free-flow of mail to IKE as we prepared to deploy."
NAVSUP FLC Jacksonville continues to pursue process improvement in postal operations, as mail remains an essential quality-of-life support service for Sailors and their families.
NAVSUP FLC Jacksonville is one of eight FLCs under Commander, NAVSUP. Headquartered in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, and employing a diverse, worldwide workforce of more than 22,500 military and civilian personnel, NAVSUP's mission is to provide supplies, services, and quality-of-life support to the Navy and joint warfighter.
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