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Near-instant delivery with MotoMail

MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va.(Dec. 1, 2005) -- When Marines read letters from home, “news” is actually old because of the time it takes for normal mail to reach forward deployed areas.


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MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va.(Dec. 1, 2005) -- When Marines read letters from home, “news” is actually old because of the time it takes for normal mail to reach forward deployed areas.

But thanks to the Marine Corps Motivational Mail System, which celebrates its first anniversary Friday, deployed leathernecks can receive MotoMail within 24 hours.

Family and friends can log onto www.MotoMail.us, register for an account, type a letter and send it.

While e-mail requires the sender to know a recipient’s e-mail address, MotoMail only requires the sender know the recipient’s deployed mailing address. Unlike e-mail, the Marines do not need access to a computer, because they will receive a hard copy of the letter. The messages are downloaded, printed, sealed, sorted and delivered seven days a week from eight military postal facilities in Iraq.

“One of the most common comments that get sent in from the families and friends is that MotoMail really helped them feel like they were able to stay in touch,” said Chief Warrant Officer 4 Don L. McCarty, I Marine Expeditionary Force’s postal officer. “There have been several reported incidents of wives and family members trying to notify their Marines about extremely important or urgent news, and MotoMail has been able to get the news to the Marines.”

MotoMail is not open to everyone; only friends and family members may use the free service.
Many Marines thought the use of MotoMail would diminish as the communication networks for Leathernecks in Iraq has improved, McCarty said. But its usage continues to increase.

MotoMail is available for delivery to Marines in Iraq, Afghanistan and Kuwait. Many Marines deployed to these countries use MotoMail to communicate with their friends and family also serving overseas. More than 80 percent of MotoMail recipients are corporals and below in the combat arms military occupational specialties because staff noncommissioned officers and officers have more access to computers.

The motivational letters are trucked or flown on a daily basis from Iraq to Kuwait and Afghanistan, but plans are being made to establish a postal location in Afghanistan.

MotoMail is also available to Marines at sea.

“Ships can have lengthy periods of time that they don’t have access to a port to get them mail; it can be up to a couple of weeks,” McCarty said. “The ability to get MotoMail on a daily basis versus weeks is crucial to morale.”

While still in its infancy, MotoMail has big expectations for the future, with plans to expand to Djibouti, and making it accessible to troops deployed in support of national disasters, such as the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami and Hurricane Katrina relief.

By Friday, an estimated 690,000 MotoMail letters will have been sent since Dec. 2, 2004, and with the Christmas and other holidays quickly approaching, all mail traffic is expected to increase.

“Nothing can replace the parcels that our Marines will receive during the holiday season, but as the volume goes up, there is a usual slight delay in the (U.S. mail) delivery time,” McCarty said. “MotoMail will at least be able to notify our Marines that parcels are on the way and that they are in the hearts and minds of all their family and friends.”