TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. - For servicemembers not going home during the holidays, the Christmas spirit can often be low and this cheerful time of year can feel like "just another month."
In today’s technological world, a phone call home or an e-mail to a loved one can sometimes fill the void of being away during the holidays, but not quite as much as seeing your name on a package or a letter.
Working around the clock to fill that void, are six Marines at the Combat Center Post Office who work diligently to sort all Christmas and New Year’s mail so that they arrive on time and intact.
“The six of us work very hard to ensure that the Marines get their mail and packages as quick as possible,” said Staff Sgt. Jonathan Davis, postal clerk, Headquarters Battalion. “We get a lot of Marines who come down here every day asking about their packages, so we understand that it is important to them. It is a great feeling to see the look on a Marine’s face when you can deliver them their package, especially during the holiday season.”
During Christmas and New Year’s, the mail coming through the Combat Center post office increases substantially, according to Davis.
To compensate for the increase, the postal Marines do what Marines do best, deal with it.
“Even with the increase in work, we do what we have to do to get the mail out,” Davis said. “We are Marines and that is what Marines do, adapt and overcome.”
With the biggest push of mail coming in for the students at the Marine Corps Communication-Electronics School, it is an especially good feeling to bring a sense of holiday cheer to Marines so early in their careers, according to Sgt. Maria Ortiz, postal clerk, Headquarters Battalion.
“It makes me personally feel like I can bring a part of the holidays to them,” Ortiz said. “Having been deployed to Okinawa and to a combat zone, I understand how important mail can be. For these students, that piece of home coming in a package can be just as important.”
The biggest build-up of mail the postal Marines handle is coming back from the New Year’s break. While the Marines still manage to sort it all out and have it ready for pick up, it still makes for an extremely long morning, according to Lance Cpl. Basem Bakhtan, postal clerk, Headquarters Battalion.
“Coming back from New Year’s makes for a really busy morning, but we always get it done on time,” Bakhtan said. “It feels good providing to these Marines because for some of them, this is all they are looking forward to over the holiday breaks.”
While the average work day and load for postal Marines can be much different than that of other Marines, their role in the boosting of morale in our Corps solidifies their dedication to service, and earns them a key role in the continuance and preservation of our legacy.