With the COVID-19 pandemic affecting missions worldwide, the Naval Supply Systems Command (NAVSUP) Fleet Logistics Center (FLC) Bahrain Fleet Mail Center (FMC) supported mail operations throughout the U.S. 6th Fleet, while supporting normal operations in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility, April 6.
On that date, several commercial airlines suspended flights to Europe. So the NAVSUP FLC Bahrain FMC received about 52,000 pounds of mail from the United States, with little advanced notice, to reroute to forces in Italy, Greece and Spain. This influx came on top of the usual mail support to 50 homeported and deployed ships and Fleet Post Offices in Bahrain, Djibouti, and the United Arab Emirates.
The FMC personnel persevered to overcome flight delays and storage challenges and coordinated the delivery of 250 pallets of mail with NAVSUP FLC Sigonella.
“Our biggest challenge was finding space for the additional mail,” said Thomas Lewis, FMC manager of NAVSUP FLC Bahrain. “We understand the importance of moving the mail and supporting our fellow Department of Defense (DoD) personnel assigned to the various bases in Spain, Italy and Souda Bay.
"These countries have approximately 25 FPO zip codes that provide mail delivery services to numerous commands, ships and DoD sponsored personnel. We take tremendous pride in that," Lewis said.
Mitigating risk associated with the COVID-19 virus was another change the FMC had to endure to protect themselves and others from contracting and spreading the virus.
“Some precautions we’ve taken are the use of gloves and face masks," said Sgt. Joshua Jackson of NAVSUP FLC Bahrain FMC. "We frequently remind people not to touch their face with their hands. We have hand sanitizer stationed in various locations and do daily checks to see if they need refilling.
"Additionally, we wipe down workspaces daily," Jackson continued. "The entire warehouse and office spaces were recently sprayed with disinfectant so we are taking all necessary precautions by doing everything we can to eliminate being affected by it."
“It’s such an unpredictable world we live in," noted Tim Lynch, regional postal manager of NAVSUP FLC Bahrain. "I have been doing this for over 30 years. I’m really proud of how the entire NAVSUP team pulled together and got the job done.
"This COVID-19 pandemic is going to make people think outside the box and look at alternative solutions for many of the things we have done on a routine basis for years. It keeps the job interesting, that’s for sure," Lynch said.
U.S. 6th Fleet mail has resumed direct flights from the U.S. to Europe FPOs and mail continues to flow daily through NAVSUP FLC Bahrain FMC for deployed units in the U.S. 5th Fleet theatre of operations.
NAVSUP FLC Bahrain 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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