Infantry’s Middle Mailman in Iraq

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By Sgt. Scott Raper, 149th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade Public Affairs Specialist

Pfc. Benjamin Huebner, Delta co., 1/149th Infantry Regiment (photo by Sgt. Scott Raper, 149th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade Public Affairs Specialist)

JOINT BASE BALAD, Iraq— At Joint Base Balad, north of Baghdad, a small mailroom is filled with packages and letters for the Soldiers of Delta Co. 1st Battalion, 149th Infantry Regiment.  A larger room not far away is full as well with mail for other companies of the 1/149th not stationed at Balad.  A way must be devised to get it all to the recipients in a quick and deliberate fashion. And someone needs to be the middleman.

Pfc. Benjamin Huebner with Delta Co., 1/149th Inf. Reg. is ‘that guy.’  He is in charge of the small mailroom for his company at Balad.  Not only does he need to make sure the Soldiers of Delta receive their mail, he also coordinates the delivery to other companies stationed even north of Balad.  The only way is by shipping the packages and letters in Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles, or MRAP’s that are running the convoy security missions on the roads leading to other bases.   Convoys run daily, so Huebner informs his chain of command that he needs to get packages in the vehicles to deliver to Soldiers.

“This is a huge morale booster, the mail,” he said.  “I see guys come off missions, they’ve been driving for 12 hours straight and they see they have a box or two and they just light up.  It’s more of the idea. I am the guy that gives them the mail, and it makes them happy.”

Huebner, a Louisville native, is a 42 Alpha or Human Resources Specialist, but on this deployment, his first, he is anything and everything his command needs him to be, which is fine with him.

“I do pretty much do whatever the commander asks me to do,” he said.  “I am like their go-to guy.”

But the job he enjoys the most is his time in the mailroom.  And handling 20 plus packages and handfuls of letters each day keeps him extremely busy, but for a good reason.  He sees first hand the impact ‘boxes of goodies’ have on his fellow Soldiers.  And he realizes the reverse is true as well, each day there are letters slipped under his door heading for the states.  Lots of letters he says, people still write them and he admits that he writes a bunch himself.

He considers himself a family guy, missing friends and loved ones back home, but doesn’t have to think long before also adding green grass and his dogs as things he misses the most about home.

Huebner’s full days do not provide much free time however, everyone must find something to look forward to each day and he is no different.

“I come in early in the morning and leave late at night, when I finally have time for PT, it’s my excuse for some down time.  It’s my favorite part of the day.”

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