This chapter describes the postal company and its organization. It describes the missions, employment, organization, critical tasks, and mobility of the headquarters and the postal operations and services (OPS/SVCS) platoons.The postal company consists of a company headquarters and any combination of from two to six operations and/or services postal platoons. They are tailored to meet the needs of the mission. The modular structure allows the commander to tailor the organization to provide area postal support across the spectrum of contingency operations for war and operations other than war (OOTW). The postal company organization is shown at Figure 15-1.
A postal company can command and control from two to six platoons, although three platoons is a normal configuration. Geographic dispersion and collocation with the personnel services battalion (PSB) will affect the total number of platoons one headquarters can effectively command and control. Postal companies providing only postal operations support usually have from two to four platoons.
The following paragraphs describe the mission, employment, critical tasks, and mobility of the postal company headquarters.
A postal company headquarters provides command, control, and administrative support for from two to six postal platoons.
The postal company headquarters normally collocates with the PSB and one or more of the platoons. The type, number, location, and configuration of the postal companies is METT-T dependent. Postal companies and their platoons are deployed early so that postal services and operations can be provided as soon as the tactical situation permits. The anticipated duration of the conflict greatly influences their employment and configuration.
Equipment for postal platoons must arrive in theater before postal personnel can perform postal operations and services. Prepositioning of postal operations and postal services platoon equipment packages is necessary for any deployment. Separate coordination with USPS must occur to ensure that mission-essential USPS equipment is available in theater at the same time. The following paragraphs describe support scenarios.
Any OCONUS deployment of a battalion or larger-size force requires some type of postal support other than local area/host nation systems. The modular concept provides versatile support in force projection scenarios. It is ideally tailored to support a brigade-size or larger deployment with postal units based on the size and organization of the force deployed. A standard postal company supporting a contingency of up to 6,000 would be configured with a postal services platoon and elements of a postal operations platoon.
Operations Other than War
The OCONUS deployment of Army units to provide medical, construction, food, evacuation, law enforcement, training, or other support during OOTW requires some type of postal support. Support will be tailored based on the size and organization of the force deployed.
Postal platoons providing peacetime mail support in forward-deployed areas such as Germany and Korea, which are further deployed to new areas of operations, may require backfill or soldier/civilian augmentation to continue mail support to families in those forward-deployed communities. Mail support is planned according to the population supported.
The unified commander may direct a service component to provide any or all of the postal support in theater. For example, the U.S. Air Force or the U.S. Army may perform postal operations at the MMT, while the U.S. Army provides postal operations support at corps and postal services support at division and lower.
The company headquarters element has responsibility for performing the following critical tasks:
- Provide command and control of all assigned personnel in the company.
- Provide policy and direction for postal operations.
- Coordinate transportation and unit policies with supported area organizations and unit commanders.
- Take responsibility for operations, plans, organizations, and training.
- Provide liaison between postal operations and services platoons.
- Manage internal personnel actions and provide operational support. This includes coordinating supply support, support for unit-level vehicle and generator maintenance, and life support for all personnel in the company.
- Designate a company custodian of postal effects to account for stamp stock and capital equipment, conduct audits, prepare reports, and remit finds.
- Coordinate with supporting units for personnel, medical, religious, legal, food service, supply, transportation, engineer, DS maintenance, and non-organic communications support.
- Coordinate with unit commanders in the support area for mail transport, mail call, and unit service policies.
The postal company headquarters must be 100 percent mobile to coordinate life, logistical, administrative, and command and control support for from two to six postal platoons. It must have organic transportation to move its own personnel and equipment. The postal company headquarters must have mobile communication capability.
Postal platoons are the basic mail processing units on the battlefield. They require table of distribution and allowance (TDA) linkage during peacetime to provide manpower to execute the postal services dimension of their mission. There are two types of postal platoons: operations (OPS) and services (SVCS).
Postal operations platoons prepare and process mail in bulk by location and coordinate mail transportation to postal services platoons. The location of postal operations platoons is key to the flow of retrograde and casualty mail on the battlefield. Figure 6-1 illustrates casualty mail flow on the battlefield. Postal services platoons prepare, process, and dispatch mail by unit address and location for transport to the unit mail delivery points. Postal services platoons are the postal customer service element on the battlefield. Each postal services platoon can support up to 6,000 personnel. Each postal operations platoon can support up to 36,000 personnel.
The following paragraphs describe the employment, organization, critical tasks, and mobility of postal operations platoons.
Postal operations platoons provide general postal services and the special services required for retrograde, casualty, and EPW mail operations. General postal services include receiving and processing incoming mail from the mail movement terminal, then coordinating transportation and dispatching mail traveling between postal operations and services platoons.
The postal operations platoons manage theater and corps mail routing and delivery schemes. A designated theater postal platoon provides theater-wide search and redirect services. Postal operations platoons provide EPW mail support under the direction of theater PERSCOM.
Employment of postal operations platoons is based on the following factors/requirements:
- Projected USPS procedures.
- Military requirements to sort/package mail within CONUS/out of theater.
- Port and overseas transport procedures.
- A throughput mail distribution system from theater to brigade level.
- Availability of TOE, CTA, and USPS equipment.
- Total mail visibility.
- Adequate organic transportation.
- Contracted or allocated theater, corps, or HNS transportation in which mail is secured and/or guarded IAW DoD postal regulations.
- Substantial in-theater requirements for sorting, redirect, retrograde mail, casualty mail, directory, international mail, any soldier mail, other military service mail, and EPW mail service requirements.
Postal operations platoons usually station themselves at major theater mail reception points. Operations platoons are also placed on the battlefield in a way that best supports the direct/redirect of casualty, retrograde, and missent mail. Postal operations platoons will locate as close to the theater air/sea ports as practical to facilitate accepting and sorting bulk mail. They may remain in CONUS to assist sorting mail, when necessary.
The postal operations platoon has three elements: platoon headquarters, mail processing/operations section, and directory service section. The platoon headquarters section supervises and controls the platoon, maintains discipline, coordinates with the company headquarters on postal support policies and mission changes, and directs daily postal operations.
The mail processing/operations section receives, sorts, safeguards, directs, and redirects mail to the appropriate unit within the theater and the platoon. It also maintains the postal routing schemes and performs unit mail redirect.
The directory service section performs all functions required for casualty mail operations, EPW mail operations, and international mail exchange. This section maintains locations of the theater medical facilities and performs all necessary communication with hospitals, units, and higher and lower headquarters to perform mail redirect operations. This section performs individual mail redirect.
The modular postal operations platoon has the following responsibilities:
- Receive incoming official and personal mail from entry points in theater (air or surface terminals). This includes coordinating transportation from the postal operations company to the mail movement terminals.
- Receive and distribute intra-theater official and personal mail from postal organizations.
- Operate a central mail directory service in the theater based on personnel data from the personnel group or theater PERSCOM, rather than a CONUS-based mail directory system.
- Operate an international mail exchange responsible for exchanging mail between the USPS/military postal units and host nation postal authorities.
- Receive, process, and redirect casualty mail according to procedures established by the theater PERSCOM/personnel group.
- Supplement USPS manpower at CONUS gateways to support the mail sorting process in order to meet mail delivery standards, if necessary
The postal operations platoons require 50 percent of their TOE equipment and supplies to be transported in a single lift to provide services in the corps and theater areas. They must have adequate organic transportation for all personnel and equipment (TOE, CTA, USPS, and automation).
The following paragraphs describe the mission, employment, organization, critical tasks, and mobility of postal services platoons.
The modular postal services platoon mission is to provide direct mail service to units within its area of responsibility. These services include providing ordinary, accountable, and casualty mail services; providing postal finance services; and receiving, processing, canceling, and dispatching mail to supported units.
The personnel services battalion (PSB) exercises command and control over the modular postal company. The company headquarters element collocates with the PSB in the division rear CP or with the personnel group in the corps rear CP. Normally, the services platoons are attached for support to the major supported unit in the supported area, and they collocate as the unit deploys. Location ultimately depends on METT-T.
The postal services platoon has three elements: platoon headquarters, mail processing/operations, and postal finance. The platoon headquarters section supervises and controls the platoon, maintains discipline, coordinates with the company headquarters on postal support policies, and directs daily postal operations.
The mail processing/operations section receives, sorts, safeguards, and redirects mail at brigade level. It also maintains the postal routing schemes. The postal finance section sells money orders and stamps and provides accountable mail services. The postal services platoon(s) generally provides postal services for the supported area under the command and control of the PSB, according to procedures established by the personnel group commander and in coordination with the corps postal officer.
The postal services platoon(s) has few internal assets for supporting its own personnel. Therefore, these support requirements must be coordinated with the supported unit for platoons in the brigade/separate unit area or with the personnel group/PSB if the headquarters or platoons are located rear of the brigade area.
Postal platoons deployed without the postal company commander are normally commanded by a PSB detachment commander.
The postal platoon normally operates within a defense support cluster. It participates in cluster defense under the senior commander's direction.
The postal services platoon is responsible for the following critical tasks:
- Provide official mail to the signal officer of the unit addressed.
- Prepare mail for unit mail clerks/mail delivery points for delivery to addressees.
- Receive, process, cancel, and dispatch outgoing mail.
- Receive, process, and redirect incoming unit and individual mail.
- Process and redirect mail for soldiers and civilians in a casualty status.
- Maintain mobility to move to and support forward areas, normally brigade areas, then rapidly relocate according to the tactical situation.
- Update postal routing schemes by accurately tracking supported unit locations.
The platoon must be 100 percent mobile to provide services in the brigade/battalion areas. It must have adequate organic transportation to move all personnel and equipment (TOE, CTA, USPS, and automation).
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