CAMP AL QA'IM, Iraq -- On his second deployment to Iraq, Lance Cpl. Jacob A. Lamb admits that communicating with friends and family back home is easier thanks to a relatively new program: Moto Mail.
‘Moto’ is short for ‘motivation,’ and it’s what U.S. service members like Lamb use as a means to keep contact with his friends and family back home.
This roughly two-year-old program allows U.S. service members deployed overseas to receive letters for free via an electronic system. The letters are printed and enveloped at the military post office, and in the hands of the servic emember within 24 hours.
Since Marines such as Lamb, don’t always have access to the internet or phones, Moto Mail is a major advance over email which still relies on the recipient having computer access, said Lamb, who is on his second deployment to Iraq.
“I didn’t even know the program existed last year,” said Lamb, 22, a motor transport operator with 2nd Combat Engineer Battalion, which is currently supporting 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment here. “Now I get about six or seven Moto Mails a week from friends.”
Lamb is currently supporting a combat engineer company with the battalion and works at remote sites building fortified battle positions, emplacing security barriers and improving the quarters of Marines and Iraqi soldiers throughout the region.
Moto Mail printer, folder and sealer ensure Lamb’s Moto Mail letters with news from his hometown of Murfreesboro, is private and kept confidential
With Moto Mail, Lamb can receive his mail in a printed letter format and catch up with news from his hometown of Murfreesboro, Tenn., virtually overnight.
On April 24, upon returning to his unit’s remote base here from a week-long outing, Lamb found a stack of Moto Mails on his bed and discovered that he had become the one-millionth Moto Mail recipient – a milestone in the Moto Mail program, according to Chief Warrant Officer 2 Cecilia E. Salter, a postal officer from 1st Marine Logistics Group.
Currently, the Marine Corps is the only U.S. military branch that has such a program for Iraq-deployed U.S. service members, according to Salter. The Marine Corps has also expanded the service to Marines and sailors aboard certain naval vessels, she said.
“This is very significant for Marines serving in an area of operations such as Al Qa’im,” said Salter, a postal officer from 1st Marine Logistics Group. “It’s a major morale booster for Marines, especially those now in Iraq.”
The 32-year-old Marine from Camp Pendleton, Calif., presented Lamb with a gift certificate for $250, a $50 Super Letter account credit, a “Go Postal” T-shirt and coin, and a care package filled with snacks and personal hygiene items for being the recipient of the one-millionth Moto Mail.
Lamb, a graduate of Oakland High School in Murfreesboro, Tenn., uses the program because of its relative ease and accessibility, he said.
Other Marines here, such as Cpl. Joffre Castillo, a 22-year-old administrative clerk, say Moto Mail is a good method to get immediate news from home.
“My wife has contacted me several times during the deployment about vital matters at home like medical issues and health updates,” said the Twentynine Palms, Calif., native who has kept as much communication as possible with his loved ones back home.
Lamb, who enrolled in the Marine Corps more than two years ago, says that without Moto Mail he would probably not find out about “everyday regular things” that go on back home.
“It feels good to know what’s going on and I can choose to respond the same day I get the letters,” said Lamb.
Now more than halfway through his second deployment (his unit arrived in February), Lamb is simply looking forward to getting back home to Camp Lejeune, N.C., and hanging out with his friends and driving his brand new truck.
“I can’t wait to get home and meet my new nephew,” said Lamb. “As long as I stay busy and keep doing my job out here, time will go by that much faster.”
For more information about Moto Mail, the “2 Way Service” program, or to create a Moto Mail account, visit www.motomail.us.
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