Behind-the-scenes tasks lead to successful APO operations
Sgt. 1st Class Dawn Ramos
8th Human Resources Sustainment Center, 8th Theater Sustainment Command
KUWAIT — Even with ever-growing technology and the capability to have a face–to-face conversation with someone over a computer or a cell phone, a big morale booster to deployed Soldiers is still getting mail.
The 8th Human Resources Sustainment Center, or HRSC, 8th Theater Sustainment Command, currently deployed, here, in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, ensures that Army Post Offices, or APOs, in the Central Command’s area of responsibility, comply with U.S. Postal Service and Military Postal Service Agency policies.
The Postal Operations Division, one of five divisions of the 8th HRSC, is charged with this responsibility and accomplishes this task through its CENTCOM theater postal inspection team.
“Mail is a significant morale booster, and we make every effort to ensure packages arrive as quickly as possible to the Soldiers in the field,” said Lt. Col. Letitia Bryant, chief, Postal Operations Division, 8th HRSC, 8th TSC.
The CENTCOM theater postal inspection team is comprised of two separate entities, which combined make one super team.
This inspection team inspects 18 APOs spread throughout Afghanistan, Qatar, Egypt and here.
One part of the CENTCOM theater postal inspection team is the Postal Assessment and Assistance Team, or PAAT. During its inspections, the team looks at 10 areas within the APO. These areas begin from when the package is first brought into the APO by the customer and receives an open parcel inspection. The team observes these inspections and ensures they are done correctly, making sure that no unauthorized or unsafe items are permitted to enter the mail system.
On the other end of the spectrum, the team observes how packages that arrive in theater are delivered by APO staff to the unit mail clerks for delivery to the individual Soldier.
The team also inspects accountable mail, postal supply, finance, operations, administration and supervision, directory service, postal claims and technical inspections.
The unit verifies physical accountability of all funds, postage and other accountable items, such as money orders and postage meters.
Most of these tasks take place behind the scenes and out of view of the customer, but are all important functions in the successful operation of the APO.