'Please, Mr. Postman:' Post office delivers aircraft weight in holiday mail

SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany -- The post office here delivered more than 423,000 pounds of mail -- the combined weight equivalent of more than two C-17 Globemaster III aircraft -- for Saber Airmen and their families during the holiday season Nov. 1 to Dec. 31.

For December alone, the weight was 241,000 pounds with 63,000 delivered the week prior to Dec. 25.

"From November to December, we provide the most important service on base," said Senior Master Sgt. Kirk Baldwin, 52nd Communications Squadron post office superintendant. "We make or break the holidays for families."

When overseas, Airmen make certain sacrifices, said Master Sgt. Patrick McKimmie, 606th Air Control Squadron and recipient of holiday postage. When someone can't find what they're looking for in the local economy, they can order it online.

Airmen then must rely on the postal service to deliver the packages in a timely manner, he added.

"The post office here is absolutely awesome," he said. "Their hard work with the extended hours was an incredible morale boost. The extreme professionalism, great customer service and speed of delivery ... it was just great getting all of the packages for my family."

Germany's fair winter weather in 2011 didn't adversely affect mail delivery, Baldwin said. With no shipping delays, he and his staff of nearly 40 Airmen could post deliveries within one day once parcels arrived at Spangdahlem.

"We don't sit on packages," Baldwin said of the speed with which his Airmen post mail. "We had different shifts of Airmen whose specific job is to place parcels in the post."

Staff Sgt. Robert Fernandez, 52nd CS postal clerk, worked throughout the holiday, which had an overall 6,000 parcel increase from 2010.

"It's challenging," he said. "During the holidays, every day is taxing; it's a lot of lifting heavy boxes and fast-paced work. It is rewarding, though, to see the appreciation from some of the people who picked up their mail."

The post office parcel pickup hours are Monday to Saturday 8 a.m. - 9 p.m. The post office is open Sunday, but the parcel pickup window will not be open. For more information, call DSN 452-7182 or 06565-61-7182.