MCMURDO STATION, Antarctica (NNS) -- Naval Supply Systems Command Global Logistics Support (NAVSUP GLS) postal products and services facilitated mail services for the first time to Antarctica in support of heavy icebreaker USCGC Polar Star's (WAGB-10) port visit to McMurdo Station, Jan. 17-19.
Recently, NAVSUP GLS postal products and services has been treading new territory as it actively facilitates the safe delivery of packages and letters to maritime service members deployed to the far reaches of the globe, from Antarctica and beyond.
"We are providing more reach, getting more creative in how we deliver that mail to our globally deployment maritime service members," said Ramon Arredondo, NAVSUP GLS mail routing analyst.
Before February 2015, military mail was facilitated by the Joint Military Postal Agency (JMPA) via the mail routing instruction (MRI), taking into account ships' movements and dates. JMPA would determine the mail cut dates -- when to start and stop shipping -- and where mail should be forwarded to just a few fixed postal hub locations around the world.
Now, with built-in maritime knowledge and expertise, the NAVSUP GLS routing center is getting more creative and pushing the envelope in the mail delivery process.
"The NAVSUP GLS routing center is now the primary hub for mail routing for the Navy, Coast Guard, USNS (Military Sealift Command), and embarked Marines. One hundred percent of all Navy mail routing goes through the NAVSUP GLS routing center, where we conduct the research to determine the best route for the mail," said Arredondo.
This included a port visit by guided-missile destroyer USS Sampson (DDG 102) to Auckland, New Zealand -- the first U.S. warship port visit to New Zealand in 33 years. Other recent port visits to the Oceania region include mail delivery to Brunei, Polynesia, Papua New Guinea, Fiji, and Tasmania.
As an example of recent postal efficiencies, take into consideration the Polar Star post visit to McMurdo Station. The mail originated in Chicago, in the international service center and military mail hub. It then flew to Fleet Mail Center (FMC) Yokohama, Japan, via commercial airlift. From there, it traveled via commercial air to Sydney, Australia, and to Christchurch, New Zealand, also by commercial air. Finally, military airlift delivered the mail to Antarctica for the final leg of the long voyage to get to the Coast Guardsmen.
"We make it a point to identify every possible means of support, whether via commercial airlines, military assets such as RAS (replenishment-at-sea), and other means," said Arredondo.
Domestic military mail transportation is coordinated with the U.S. Postal Service.
NAVSUP GLS provides global logistics for a global Navy. The organization is made up of approximately 6,300 military and civilian logistics professionals operating from 105 locations worldwide, providing an extensive array of integrated global logistics and contracting services to Navy, Marine Corps, joint operational units, and allied forces across all warfare enterprises.
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