You've got mail: Postal Airmen deliver a little piece of home

(From left) U.S. Air Force Senior Airmen Lorenza Kates and Victoria Hill, 455th Expeditionary Communications Squadron mail clerks deliver mail at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan June 26, 2014.  Kates and Hill are responsible for handling mail for Airmen in the 455th Air Expeditionary Wing. They handle thousands of packages and letters per month.  Kates is deployed from Davis Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz. and a native of Dublin, Ga. Hill is deployed from Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo. and a native of Blanchard, La.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Evelyn Chavez)

(From left) U.S. Air Force Senior Airmen Lorenza Kates and Victoria Hill, 455th Expeditionary Communications Squadron mail clerks deliver mail at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan June 26, 2014. Kates and Hill are responsible for handling mail for Airmen in the 455th Air Expeditionary Wing. They handle thousands of packages and letters per month. Kates is deployed from Davis Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz. and a native of Dublin, Ga. Hill is deployed from Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo. and a native of Blanchard, La. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Evelyn Chavez)

(Left) U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Victoria Hill, 455th Expeditionary Communications Squadron mail clerk verifies a customer is allowed to pick up mail at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan June 25, 2014.  Hill is responsible for handling mail for Airmen assigned to the 455th Air Expeditionary Wing.  She handles thousands of packages and letters per month. Hill is deployed from Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo. and a native of Blanchard, La.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Evelyn Chavez)

(Left) U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Victoria Hill, 455th Expeditionary Communications Squadron mail clerk verifies a customer is allowed to pick up mail at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan June 25, 2014. Hill is responsible for handling mail for Airmen assigned to the 455th Air Expeditionary Wing. She handles thousands of packages and letters per month. Hill is deployed from Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo. and a native of Blanchard, La. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Evelyn Chavez)

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Victoria Hill, 455th Expeditionary Communications Squadron mail clerk, directs a forklift with a pallet of mail at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan June 26, 2014.  Hill is responsible for delivering mail to all Airmen in the 455th Expeditionary Wing.  She is deployed from Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo. and a native of Blanchard, La. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Evelyn Chavez/Released)

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Victoria Hill, 455th Expeditionary Communications Squadron mail clerk, directs a forklift with a pallet of mail at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan June 26, 2014. Hill is responsible for delivering mail to all Airmen in the 455th Expeditionary Wing. She is deployed from Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo. and a native of Blanchard, La. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Evelyn Chavez/Released)

(From left) U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Lorenza Kates, 455th Expeditionary Communications Squadron mail clerk, Airman 1st Class Joshua Zehms, 455th Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron vehicle operations and Senior Airman  Victoria Hill, 455 ECS mail clerk load a flatbed truck at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan June 26, 2014.  Hill and Kates are responsible for delivering mail to Airmen assigned to the 455th Air Expeditionary Wing.  They average 77 pallets of mail per week that amounts to approximately to 38,500 pounds.  Kates is deployed from Davis Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz. and a native of Dublin, Ga. Zehms is deployed from Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. and a native of Pittsburgh, Pa.  Hill is deployed from Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo. and a native of Blanchard, La. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Evelyn Chavez/Released)

(From left) U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Lorenza Kates, 455th Expeditionary Communications Squadron mail clerk, Airman 1st Class Joshua Zehms, 455th Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron vehicle operations and Senior Airman Victoria Hill, 455 ECS mail clerk load a flatbed truck at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan June 26, 2014. Hill and Kates are responsible for delivering mail to Airmen assigned to the 455th Air Expeditionary Wing. They average 77 pallets of mail per week that amounts to approximately to 38,500 pounds. Kates is deployed from Davis Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz. and a native of Dublin, Ga. Zehms is deployed from Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. and a native of Pittsburgh, Pa. Hill is deployed from Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo. and a native of Blanchard, La. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Evelyn Chavez/Released)

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Victoria Hill, 455th Expeditionary Communications Squadron mail clerk, sorts through pallets of mail at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan June 26, 2014.  Hill is responsible for delivering mail to all Airmen in the 455th Expeditionary Wing.  She is deployed from Whiteman Air Force Base and a native of Blanchard, La. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Evelyn Chavez/Released)

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Victoria Hill, 455th Expeditionary Communications Squadron mail clerk, sorts through pallets of mail at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan June 26, 2014. Hill is responsible for delivering mail to all Airmen in the 455th Expeditionary Wing. She is deployed from Whiteman Air Force Base and a native of Blanchard, La. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Evelyn Chavez/Released)

(From left)U.S. Air Force Senior Airmen Lorenza Kates and Victoria Hill, 455th Expeditionary Communications Squadron mail clerks load a truck with mail at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan June 26, 2014.  Kates and Hill are responsible for handling mail for Airmen in the 455th Air Expeditionary Wing.  They handle thousands of packages and letters per month.  Kates is deployed from Davis Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz. and a native of Dublin, Ga. Hill is deployed from Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo. and a native of Blanchard, La.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Evelyn Chavez)

(From left)U.S. Air Force Senior Airmen Lorenza Kates and Victoria Hill, 455th Expeditionary Communications Squadron mail clerks load a truck with mail at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan June 26, 2014. Kates and Hill are responsible for handling mail for Airmen in the 455th Air Expeditionary Wing. They handle thousands of packages and letters per month. Kates is deployed from Davis Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz. and a native of Dublin, Ga. Hill is deployed from Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo. and a native of Blanchard, La. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Evelyn Chavez)

(From left) U.S. Air Force Senior Airmen Victoria Hill and Lorenza Kates, 455th Expeditionary Communications Squadron mail clerks, drive to the centralized mail location to pick mail up at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan June 26, 2014.  Hill and Kates deliver an average of 77 pallets of mail per week.  Hill is deployed from Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo.  and a native of Blanchard, La. Kates is deployed from Davis Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz. and a native of Dublin, Ga. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Evelyn Chavez/Released)

(From left) U.S. Air Force Senior Airmen Victoria Hill and Lorenza Kates, 455th Expeditionary Communications Squadron mail clerks, drive to the centralized mail location to pick mail up at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan June 26, 2014. Hill and Kates deliver an average of 77 pallets of mail per week. Hill is deployed from Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo. and a native of Blanchard, La. Kates is deployed from Davis Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz. and a native of Dublin, Ga. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Evelyn Chavez/Released)

BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan -- Care packages, online orders and letters are the little things Airmen at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan look forward to while deployed. The 455th Expeditionary Communications Squadron mail clerks work daily to boost morale by delivering little pieces of happiness for Airmen throughout the wing.

"My favorite part of the job is seeing people's faces light up when they get mail," said Senior Airman Victoria Hill, 455 ECS mail clerk deployed from Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri and a native of Blanchard, Louisiana.

Hill is one of two Airmen, responsible for delivering mail to all Airmen from the 455th Air Expeditionary Wing. Although some of their normal duties at home station entail base records and data management, here they ensure timely mail delivery every day.

At six a.m., Senior Airmen Lorenza Kates and Victoria Hill start their day by coordinating transportation to pick up the mail tri-walls -pallet sized-boxes- from a centralized mail location.

"I report to work by six a.m. then pick up our forklift to lift tri-wall boxes," said Kates who is deployed from Davis Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona and a native of Dublin, Georgia. "Then we make calls to figure out how many pallets we received for the day before we make our way to pick the mail up."

After picking up mail and escorting it back to their office, Kates and Hill unload the pallets to sort it according to units. While one of mail clerks moves the pallets with a forklift, the other arranges them neatly into rows to make the sorting easier. They average 77 pallets of mail a week that amount to approximately 38,500 pounds.

"The most difficult part of the job is constantly being on the go," said Hill. "It is heavy physical labor, we run around loading and unloading, but I really enjoy it."

Once the packages are sorted, which takes about three hours depending on the number of tri-walls on that given day, Kates and Hill load their truck for mail delivery to mission essential organizations.

According to Hill, mission essential units are those unable to leave their work area during the day to pick up mail. Some of the units include special tactics, aeromedical evacuation, airfield operations and transient management.

After they spend time helping the other section and the morning routine is complete, the 455th Air Expeditionary Wing postal center opens for customer service hours. During this time, mail representatives from every squadron in the wing are able to pick up their unit's mail.

"During customer service hours we check 285's which are cards that certify appointed individuals to pick up mail for their squadron," said Kates. We have to monitor who picks up the mail. We have to ensure we are keeping up with mail center standards. Every hand that the mail touches should be recorded until it is received by the person it belongs to."

Kates and Hill make certain every piece of mail reaches its destination. Whether it is a mission essential piece of equipment or a letter from a loved one, the mail clerks here deliver a piece of home to Airmen everyday.

"We get the mission done here whether by keeping morale up or ensuring people can do their job by delivering what they need," said Hill. "It's pretty cool to say we are the only ones that deliver mail to all the Airmen from the wing."