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USS Mason Visit to Djibouti Highlighted by Mail

Navy News Service

Story Number: NNS160808-04
Release Date: 8/8/2016 9:45:00 AM

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Janweb B. Lagazo, USS Mason (DDG 87) Public Affairs

DJIBOUTI (NNS) -- Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Mason (DDG 87), part of the Dwight D. Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group (Ike CSG), made a scheduled port stop July 23 to receive mail and supplies in Djibouti, Africa.

Mason loaded approximately 3,000 pounds of mail, parts and necessary supplies to help the ship continue its mission and tasking. Mostly mail and care packages were received from family, friends, and military-friendly organizations. Mason received four pallets of mail in early July, but this visit yielded 28 pallets.

"It's very uncommon for a destroyer to have this much mail," said Lt. Cmdr. John Lloyd Jr., Mason's supply officer. "We had mail that was stuck in Crete, Greece, which was misdirected and then held for us."

Lloyd continued to say "it's a double-edged sword" when receiving this much mail because there is the potential of the Mason postal team becoming overwhelmed with care packages from family, nonprofit organizations, and groups.

"There were nothing but smiles," said Lloyd. "It was like Christmas. The morale instantly changed on the ship. They love it. The net benefit outweighed the extra work it took to manage such overwhelming numbers in this situation."

"It was a choice between having an ice cream social or sorting mail," said Senior Chief Logistics Specialist Pierre Bonguen, assigned to Mason's Supply Department. "The Sailors chose mail and that tells you a lot."

The entire time in Djibouti lasted approximately six hours and the ship departed just before the evening. The mail had been collecting since mid-June and was finally delivered.

"There's definitely an adjustment period," said Lt. j.g Matthew Couch, assigned to Mason's Supply Department. "People have to realize that the mail is delayed. It's not like sending packages in the states. You can send it using two-day shipping, but it will still take a couple of weeks to get out to [Mason]."

All available hands helped in the effort to load the parts, supplies and mail onto the ship to be inventoried, processed, and distributed to the respective work centers.

"The postal team did great," said Bonguen. "It wasn't only my team that did everything. The entire Mason team was engaged."

Lloyd went on to say "cooperation was at the highest" he'd ever witnessed.

"We showed up to a foreign port we've never been to and [Mason] had 28 pallets sitting on the side of the pier," said Couch. "We had to load them on, get them through the passageways, process them, sort them, and then disburse them."

Along with Mason, Ike CSG includes the CSG 10 staff, Destroyer Squadron 26 staff, aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69), Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 3, guided-missile cruisers San Jacinto (CG 56) and USS Monterey (CG 61), and DESRON 26 guided-missile destroyers USS Stout (DDG 55), USS Roosevelt (DDG 80) and USS Nitze (DDG 94).

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