An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.













NEWS | Dec. 20, 2023

Army Reserve Unit Boosts Morale During Holidays

By Maj. Eric W. Connor , 79th Theater Sustainment Command

While most of us are slowing down during this time of the year, that’s not the case at Soto Cano Air Base near Comayagua, Honduras. A detachment of the 909th Human Resources Company is now on ground at the base and busier than ever. Soldiers of the Clackamas, Oregon, and Bothell, Washington-based unit are just beginning their 9-month deployment at the air base in Central America. Their arrival comes just as operations specific to their jobs have ramped up at the camp where they will be providing a very vital service, that of postal.

     “We’re here to process both inbound and outbound mail to all service members and everyone else at Camp Soto Cano. We [provide] services to about 750 service members and other customers,” said Staff Sgt. Douglas White, 909th HR Co. (Postal) Supervisor.

     Postal operations have picked up more than 50 percent for the unit, which falls under the 364th Expeditionary Sustainment Command, 79th Theater Sustainment Command. The Soldiers are not only responsible for handling and managing typical day-to-day mail, but also an influx of care packages, holiday cards, monetary transactions, stamp purchases, money orders, and a large volume of Amazon packages. The unit recently replaced an active-duty unit out of Fort Riley, Kansas. The transition has been seamless according to the officer in charge.

     “It’s been going really well. We’re excited to have the new team here. They’re here on a 9-month rotation, which is very exciting. They’ve been doing a RIPTOA (relief in place/transfer of authority) with the previous team. They’ve been picking up exactly where the old team left off which is the most we can ask for,” said 1st Lt. Madeline Whitehead, Army Forces Battalion S-1. “We have the holidays coming up, so the team is about to have a lot of mail coming in. They’re going to be super busy. I know they’re really excited about that. Packages are going to be going out to families as well because a lot of people here won’t be going home.”

     The mail service is a huge morale booster for those working and living on the base. A noticeable smile crosses the faces of Soldiers who come into the post office to pick up their mail or packages.

     “They’re doing a great job,” said one service member enthusiastically as he walked out of the building.

     In order to be successful, timely, and ultimately satisfy the customer, postal operations have to be like a well-oiled machine. Through small in size, the six-person postal team has to handle tens of thousands of pieces of mail. During a recent 24-hour period the team received, unbagged, sorted, and organized more than 530 pieces of mail, packages and handled several financial transactions. While everyone has a specific job in the mailroom and at the post office’s front windows, it’s definitely a team effort to get each and every piece of mail situated and sorted.

     “I work on directory and nesting. When people get packages, they come up to my window so I can have them sign for their packages. I also nest [bag pieces of mail] bags for outgoing mail, for things people are sending to the States,” added Spc. Kristian Hodges, a 909th HR Co. (Postal) Specialist who jumped at the opportunity for this deployment after recently completing one performing the same job in Poland. “I enjoy it.”

     Not only do the Soldiers enjoy it they welcome the challenge and surprise of not knowing how much mail they’ll be flooded with on any given day.

     With the holidays obviously there’s going to be an influx of packages especially to loved ones while they’re deployed here. With Christmas coming up, I’m sure it’s going to ramp up,” said Spc. Gabriel Ezrilov, a finance clerk with the unit.

     While it’s a lot more work, the Soldiers agree it’s well worth it to see the smiles and expressions of gratitude from their many customers.

     “The post office is a really big morale booster for a lot of people, you know you’re getting a package from your loved one. It helps us to see their faces light up and how happy they are when they get a package from their loved ones, and that makes it really worth it no matter how hard our day is. At the end of the day this is customer service. We like seeing people get excited,” added Ezrilov.