NEAR KARMAH, Iraq -- Imagine for a moment your mailbox is stuffed with 6,000 pounds of mail. Also imagine your family has 1,251 members, and they all live in different houses.
The Marines of Battalion Landing Team 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines, received a mail drop June 28 of massive proportions – at least to a bystander.
Standing in a waist-high pile of packages and envelopes, Lance Cpl. Trevor Neiman, a native of Phelan, Calif., directed the sorting operation with the ease of a true professional.
“This mail drop is about average,” said Neiman, BLT 3/1’s mail clerk. “We’re getting mail every 3-4 days now though … sometimes it builds up over two weeks and it gets crazy.”
Take the time to add a few figures, and you have an average of 12,000 pounds of mail each week, nearly 50,000 pounds per month*. To some, the figures alone could equate to back-breaking labor, but Neiman says Marines sorting the mail don’t mind.
“When you work with the mail, you’re helping everybody,” he said. “And it’s important because guys are getting pictures of their kids they haven’t even met yet, sometimes we’ll see drawing from kids on packages … and that’s just awesome.”
“And don’t forget the perfume envelopes,” said another smiling sorter.
One core group of mail volunteers is the Battalion’s Reconnaissance platoon. It has become routine that when the mail comes, Recon steps forward to help.
“If you can help other guys get their mail, that’s great,” said Cpl. Shawn Moen, a member of the platoon. “And y’know,” he added sheepishly, “we just want our packages.”
Moen said the size of the drop did not intimidate him.
“I don’t think mail comes enough.”