GAROUA, Cameroon – More than 20 official unit mail handlers worked diligently to process hundreds of packages the evening of December 19 and 20 for the service members stationed here.
According to Sgt. Adrian Cordova, one of Task Force Darby’s main mail clerks stationed at Contingency Location Garoua, the mail usually arrives every two weeks. However, delayed or cancelled flights to the area caused mail services to be postponed.
The soldiers here from 1st Battalion, 87th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, are serving in a support role for the Cameroon military’s fight against the violent extremist organization Boko Haram.
As a result, family and friends send mail to support their soldiers during their assignment here.
With Christmas just around the corner, the flight on December 19 produced a flood of packages and other mail.
“We were overwhelmed with mail,” said Cordova.
Cordova said the amount of mail received set a new record.
“The most mail recorded was 5500 lbs back in December 2016,” said Cordova.
“Because of flight issues, we ended up with two deliveries in one week,” said Cordova. “On December 19 we received 6600 lbs and on December 20 we got 6800 lbs. That is the most CL Garoua has ever received since its establishment in March 2015.”
Sgt. John Marshall, TF Darby’s additional mail clerk notes how long it took to process such hefty amounts of mail.
“The flight on the 19th came in at 4:30 p.m. and we finished about 7:30 p.m.,” Marshall said. “On the 20th, the mail came in 5:00 p.m. and finished 8:30 p.m.”
Soldiers seemed happy to receive their mail and packages before Christmas.
1st Lt. Kenneth Seamans, TF Darby’s operations officer received about 15 packages.
“I’ve had a lot of family and friends send packages,” Seamans said, “then they would ask me on Facebook ‘Did you get it yet?’”
Pfc. Rhiannon Wheeler, 1-87 IN mechanic, also received several packages from friends and family.
“Even though I knew what to expect, it still felt like Christmas,” Wheeler said.