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Petty Officer 3rd Class John Lester works the night shift at the Yokosuka Naval Base Post Office on Monday.

Petty Officer 3rd Class John Lester works the night shift at the Yokosuka Naval Base Post Office on Monday. (Allison Batdorff / S&S)

YOKOSUKA NAVAL Base, Japan — The pace at the Yokosuka Naval Base Post Office pitches and rolls, but Super Bowl season is seriously strenuous.

For local postal workers, the Super Bowl has nothing to do with the Feb. 5 National Football League game in Detroit. Their Super Bowl is already over. And they won this year, they said.

“We’ve moved 10 million pounds of mail letters, packages and other mail — over 320,000 different pieces — since Thanksgiving,” said Chief Petty Officer Boyd Jordan, Yokosuka’s postal officer.

This year, the post office stayed open until midnight on Dec. 24. It opened again on the morning of Dec. 25. That’s the “Super Bowl,” Jordan said.

This year’s game got exciting, he said, when inclement winter weather in the U.S. delayed inbound airmail arriving to Tokyo’s Narita International Airport. The resulting backlog had workers on the job until midnight.

But even though Christmas packages may still be trickling in — packages sent via surface mail take an average of 30-35 days to arrive from the States, Jordan said — the backlog seems to have cleared now, he said.

“Overall, we did remarkable,” Jordan said. “We sacrificed our own family time to get the mail out.”

With more than 20,000 customers, Yokosuka’s post office is the largest in the U.S. military in terms of volume and revenue. The facility did $3.8 million in business last year and handled 38 million pounds of mail, Jordan said. Mail comes in by the ton on “sea vans” or is flown in to Narita. It’s sorted at the Fleet Mail Center in Yokohama before going to the base post offices.

The staff also handles Japanese mail, such as utility bills, for military customers.

“We bury our competition — and we have a sense of pride in that,” Jordan said. “We know that this is ‘home away from home’ to these sailors and that we provide a valuable service to them.”

Mail will start tapering off in mid- to late January, he said. But things will rev up again when Valentine’s Day rolls around — after the real Super Bowl.

“The lights never go off here,” Jordan said. “We work around the clock.”


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