Need to know

U.S. flag flying at half-staff

Flag notifications. President Trump has ordered U.S. flags flown at half-staff to honor the victims of the mass shooting in Thousand Oaks, CA.

Flags should be flown at half-staff until sunset Saturday, Nov. 10.

To fly the flag at half-staff, hoist the flag to the peak for an instant and then lower it to the half-staff position. The flag should be raised to the peak again before it’s lowered for the day.

Additionally, Postal Service facilities are required to fly the POW-MIA flag to honor Veterans Day, which is Sunday, Nov. 11.

Because Veterans Day is a designated USPS holiday, facilities should raise the POW-MIA flag on the last business day that the facility is open before the holiday.

The POW-MIA flag must fly below the U.S. flag.

For more information, refer to the Postal Service’s online guidelines on U.S. flag display and maintenance, as well as the requirements for displaying the POW-MIA flag.

Protecting veterans. To help mark Veterans Day, the Postal Inspection Service is raising awareness of five scams that target current and former members of the armed forces.

The Inspection Service’s Nov. 8 news release, part of the agency’s Operation Protect Veterans campaign, has more information.

Opening soon. Reminder: Open season, the annual period when Postal Service employees can change their health benefits or enroll in a new plan, begins Monday, Nov. 12.

A variety of health, vision and dental coverage is available.

On Tuesday, Nov. 13, the Postal Service will hold the first of four webinars for employees who want to learn more about the available offerings.

Additionally, employees can participate in an online virtual benefits fair throughout this year’s open season, including a live chat with experts Nov. 13 from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. EST.

The Open Season LiteBlue page has additional information and resources to help you prepare, including FAQs, informational videos and a link to a health plan comparison tool from Checkbook’s Guide to Health Plans.

Stay open. Speaking of open season: The benefits enrollment period is previewed in the Postal Bulletin’s Nov. 8 issue. The publication also includes the latest updates to policies, procedures and forms.

Got news for “Need to know”? Email your submissions to

Life of service

Callao, VA, Postmaster Andy Hall and his wife, Warsaw, VA, Postmaster Susan Hall

Although Postmasters Susan and Andy Hall both have worked for Uncle Sam as Navy sailors and Postal Service employees, they know one thing for certain — they could never work for each other.

“One thing that we have realized through our time together is that we can’t work in the same office,” Andy said with a laugh while talking about his 12-year relationship with his wife. “I don’t think she could work for me, and I couldn’t work for her.”

Andy is the Callao, VA, Postmaster and Susan is Postmaster approximately 15 miles away in Warsaw, VA. The two met on the job and got married in 2006.

“The first time our paths crossed, we were both applying for the same Postmaster position in Montross,” Susan said. She pointed out that her favorite part of the story is where she got the job and Andy didn’t.

Besides careers with USPS, the couple shares the experience of having served their country in uniform — but never under the other’s command. For Susan and Andy, their time in the Navy was about broadening their horizons and being a part of something bigger than themselves.

Susan enlisted in the Navy Reserve in 1999 as a postal clerk and served for 10 years. Andy served on both active duty and in the Navy Reserve for 24 years as a jet engine mechanic and retired as a chief petty officer in 2010.

The Halls are among more than 100,000 veterans who are part of the USPS workforce. To mark Veterans Day this year, USPS is honoring employees like the Halls at ceremonies across the nation and providing them with special badges and lanyards.

With worldwide deployments and training exercises behind them, the Halls now spend their weekends volunteering with the American Legion and their local church and looking after their two cats and Jack Russell terrier.

And though they never served together, they both credit their time in the military with teaching them valuable lessons about teamwork and duty that help them be better Postmasters.

“Completing the mission is a daily task and we have to get it done,” Andy said, describing both his naval and postal service.

Bridging the gap

Checking Informed Delivery on cellphone

The Postal Service wants customers to know about the benefits of using Informed Delivery during the holidays.

Informed Delivery allows users to digitally preview their incoming mail and manage their packages from computers, tablets and mobile devices.

Customers can use the free feature to get a sneak peek at greeting cards and other holiday mail while traveling.

Additionally, customers can take advantage of special offers that are included in some Informed Delivery notifications.

Starting in 2019, USPS expects to begin offering a new Informed Delivery option that allows customers to sign up for some package deliveries with an electronic signature.

Nov. 8 news release has more information.

Informed Delivery, which currently has more than 13 million users, is part of the Postal Service’s strategy to bridge the gap between physical and digital mail and grow revenue.

One-stop shop

Holiday mailer

The Postal Service is helping customers prepare for the holidays with a direct mailpiece that highlights the convenience of using

“USPS has everything you need for sending gifts and greetings this season. The best part is you can do it all from home,” the piece states.

The mailer, titled “The Magic of Santa’s Workshop,” offers information on holiday stamps, mailing and shipping deadlines, and the benefits of using Click-N-Ship and Informed Delivery.

Customers who have not yet signed up for Informed Delivery will receive mailers with sign-up activation codes specific to their mailing address.

In addition to the customer piece, USPS is sending employees a mailer that highlights the important role postal workers play during the holiday season.

Customers will begin receiving the mailer during the week of Nov. 5.

News quiz

Paperweight awards

Here’s Link’s latest “News quiz,” a weekly feature that invites readers to test their knowledge of recent stories. The correct answers appear at the end.

1. In a new ranking of the 15 most admired employers, USPS tied for fifth with which two companies?

a) Google and Microsoft
b) Google and Hershey
c) Hershey and Netflix
d) Microsoft and Netflix

2. Fill in the blank: In total, approximately (blank) people read AT&T Communications’ recent employee newsletter article on Informed Delivery.

a) 200
b) 2,000
c) 20,000
d) 200,000

3. In 2017, which two cities produced two Postmaster General Sustainability Excellence Award winners?

a) Bedford Park, IL, and Los Angeles
b) Bedford Park, IL, and Eagan, MN
c) Erie, PA, and Los Angeles
d) Los Angeles and Topeka, KS

4. True or false: The Postal Service is providing employees who are military veterans with commemorative pins this year.

a) True
b) False

5. Match the employee in Column A with the Link feature that spotlighted him or her in Column B.

Column A

a) Troy, MI, Business Development Specialist Jeffrey Adams
b) Los Angeles Mail Handler Carl Ball
c) Grand Rapids, MI, City Carrier Assistant Brittany Batt
d) Fort Pierce, FL, Letter Carrier Myron Wilson

Column B

I) Best practices
II) Heroes’ corner
III) Need to know
IV) On the job

Answers: 1) c. 2) c. 3) a. 4) b. 5) a. IV., b. III., c. II., d. I.

Look for a new quiz next week and share your feedback with Link at