By Sgt. 1st Class Mary Katzenberger
3rd Expeditionary Sustainment Command
While Spc. Joby L. Forney is a chemical, biologicial, radiological and nuclear specialist by trade, he spends the majority of each duty day ensuring that Soldiers assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 3rd Expeditionary Sustainment Command, receive their mail from home.
Forney is one of several Soldiers from the Fort Bragg, North Carolina, based unit currently deployed here staffing the 1st Theater Sustainment Command Operational Command Post.
On Oct. 2, Forney and Staff Sgt. Steven W. Augusten, the postal officer noncommissioned officer in charge for the company, discussed their physically demanding—but rewarding—daily duties as mail handlers.
“In the morning I arrive around 8:30 [a.m.], I get breakfast to go, and by 9 o’clock we’re out the door,” Forney said. “We go to the PX that has the post office attached to it, we’ll check in, and then we’ll be escorted back to our triwall that will have all our mail.”
The Bend, Ore., native said that once each individual parcel is scanned by a mail clerk, he and his colleagues load the mail into a van, drive the van back to the company, unload the mail, and then process each piece of mail again after they arrive.
On a typical day, Forney said he and his teammates process more than 100 parcels, and by the time the mail room is closed each day, Monday through Saturday, he and his teammates have dedicated more than six hours out of the day to picking up, processing, and delivering parcels. It’s a task the Soldier said brings him gratification.
“When we have people that come in that are waiting on a package … they’re just exuberant, they’re so happy, so seeing that is pretty cool,” the Soldier said. “I know I waited almost three weeks, and it was awesome to finally get that package from home, seeing stuff from my kids.”
Forney said his wife, Melissa, and his children, Kennely, 10, Aela, 8, and Kiahryn, 20 months, surprised him with a personalized calendar that included family photos. The calendar ended at May, he said, the month he’s scheduled to redeploy home.
Augusten, who has been overseeing unit postal operations here since he deployed with the Fort Benjamin Harrison, Indiana, based 310th Expeditionary Sustainment Command in December 2020, echoed Forney’s sentiments.
“I don’t actually get to see the orderly deliver [mail] to the Soldier, [but] I get pleasure from doing that, the Dayton, Ohio, native said. “My MOS is food service, this is also a kind of service. They’re excited to get their mail just like they’re excited to get a big old plate of food.”
Augusten said receiving mail is a big source of morale for Soldiers.
“There’s a lot of support from people back in the states,” he said.
The Soldier said he is ecstatic when he receives packages from his wife, Trish.
“I love it, because she puts surprises in there, little notes,” Augusten said. “She’ll spray like her perfume or something, or it’s just like the laundry back home--she sent me a set of sheets, so for two days it smelled like home.”
U.S. ARMY RESERVE
DEPT. OF DEFENSE
U.S. CENTRAL COMMAND
DEPT. OF HOMELAND SECURITY
BEST WARRIOR COMPETITION