Posted on Jul 15, 2015
LTC Stephen F.
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I was recently reminded me of the importance and significance of mail call especially in the days before email, cell phones and texting existed in the 1950's 1960's, 1970's and I think through the 1980's. Waiting with anticipation in formation as a young enlisted man in sun, snow, rain or wind for mail call. The weather was much less important than hearing the names of friends called out to get mail and then hearing my own name which was wonderful. Going back to the barracks to smell envelopes from girl friends, read the letters on my bunk.
Later as a cadet at West Point one of the duties of the freshman class known as plebes was to distribute the mail to the upper classmen. It was a very important function and seemed to release a sense of common humanity and a brief period of humane treatment.
After I was commissioned in 1980, my mail was delivered to me except when we were away from home station when we would have mail call or else wait until the operation was over and then mail would be distributed.
Images: mail call wingen 70th ID WWII; Korean War early afternoon mail call brought these Thunderbirds in the 279th Infantry; Mail call! Pfc Glen Zachery of the 19th Army Postal Unit brings a sack of mail to the
Edited 4 mo ago
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SPC Jeffrey Bly
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We were out in the field this one time and we had mail call. The 1Sgt was calling us out. He called out Hernandez. Hernandez had not come out to the field with us. So the 1Sgt called out Hernandez again. Still no one replied. So the 1Sgt says "God damn it Hernandez, I knows you out there!" Of course for fear of questioning Top, we all kept our mouths shut. So he begins to spell it out, "H-E-N-R-I-K-S-O-N, Hernandez!" Henrikson, of course wanting his mail speaks up. "That's Henrikson 1sgt." Top replies, "God damn you Hernandez, get out here and get your mail!" To which Henrikson replies, "Yes 1Sgt!" Nobody said anything at the time for fear of insubordination, but we all got a pretty good chuckle out of it afterwards.

Ah, the good old days!
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MAJ John Lucas
MAJ John Lucas
14 d
In Ranger School (1972) during mail call, if you received Pogey Bait it was "open season" on your package; you were lucky if you even got a bit of it as you "shared" it with fellow Rangers. (Pogey Bait is anything that does not fall under the typical field rations and used to describe something store bought. The term is used to suggest that store bought food might be used to lure Poges (admin or clerical personnel) away from their desk jobs and out into the field.)
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SGT Dan Gray
SGT Dan Gray
8 d
I remember it was called Pokey bait and it was used to lure the women away for shall we say a restrictive meeting.
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LTC Scott Sossaman
LTC Scott Sossaman
8 d
Yep, during Desert Shield/Storm we had mail call occasionally. My unit moved a lot (SP Arty) so it didn't happen often, but when it did, it was usually several weeks worth of mail. Every time the 1SG came back from Battalion, we would hold our breath and hope that he had something for us. If he did, he would come to my Fire Direction Center and use the land-line to call the guns and everyone else to come and get their mail. Sometimes there would be "Pogey Bait", but there weren't any women anywhere near my unit.
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1SG Donald Elmore
1SG Donald Elmore
8 d
The only time I ever had mail call was in basic training. We would stand i formation and a Sergeant would stand on a platform and call out the last name and each individual had to respond with first name and middle initial. Then step forward to get the mail. For the rest of my career which lasted 20 years our names were posted on the bulletin board and you would go to the mail room for our mail.
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SFC Patient Service Tech
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I also remember forming for pay call
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SFC Steven Hetletvedt
SFC Steven Hetletvedt
1 mo
You want your money. You would definitely be at pay call.
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SPC Edward Abney
SPC Edward Abney
1 mo
1962, standing in formation for mail call, with one of the DI's "delivering" the mail. My favorite was Sgt. Reddy, who would call out a name and then when the Basic Trainee would approach, would fling the letter into the air and yell, "Air Mail". Sgt. Reddy's next delivery stunt was to smell the letter and if it had been doused in perfume, look out, he would deliver a shaded "story" about the sender and the addressee. I got my first "Dear John" in Basic.
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LTC Reginald Brown
LTC Reginald Brown
1 mo
I remember being a pay officer in Germany, 1985-87: training brief a few days before, signing out the .45, distributing cash to the soldiers ---- Pay Day Activities on the training schedule. Really happy when everyone went on direct deposit, much more efficient.
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SPC Bob Wilson
SPC Bob Wilson
8 d
I remember first Pay Call (1961), $74.00. Mandatory donation to Chaplain and I think we were required to donate to something else.
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Lt Col Charlie Brown
64
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LTC Bruce Ackers
LTC Bruce Ackers
12 d
Sgt Jack Bain - Thanks! Thinking about the importance of those letters brought tears to eyes.
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LTC Richard McCaughey
LTC Richard McCaughey
12 d
Yes, as a grunt in the early 70's, I remember mail call as fondly as most. When the two of us entered USMAPS in 75, I was kind of bummed with the whole mail box concept. Even as a married officer, unaccompanied tours rekindled those old feelings of anticipation (and many times, disappointment) that came from mail call...
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Col Robert Wallace
Col Robert Wallace
8 d
The only time I had to stand in formation was during Basic Training. From the Korean War onward, the Squadron Orderly Rooms had a section with pigeon boxes where you could check for mail at anytime. Fast Forward to 2006. A notice went up on the board asking for volunteers to do special flights. My crew & I were all widowers & decided to volunteer. It turned out to be flying mail (letter/packages) to Ramstein AB, Germany, in time for the Christmas holidays. We did this until 2008 when the flights were cancelled by Mr. Obama, citing it was a waste of resources. He had no idea how important "mail call" was to servicemen/women, yet would spend thousands using Air Force One for vacations.
Anyway, we all knew the importance of getting mail is to all service personnel & were saddened by the cancellation of the "Santa Claus Flights".
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SGT Marko Milobar
SGT Marko Milobar
2 d
Well we had mail call in the boonies during Viet Nam. I had the privilege of going on a "Honor Flight" last year and they re-interacted mail call on the flight home. Brought tears to my eyes.
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