Her story

Sgt. Hilda Griggs clearly remembers the time she spent sorting mail during World War II.

In 1945, Griggs was assigned to the 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion, the first and only Women’s Army Corps unit composed of African American women to be deployed overseas.

Nicknamed the “Six Triple Eight,” the 855 women were charged with clearing several years of mail backlogged in large warehouses and other facilities throughout Europe.

“We had to separate them by where they were going. We did England’s first because a lot of our troops were over there,” Griggs said about her shift. “It would take a while to pile and sort the mail by 4 p.m.”

Griggs, now 96, is one of nine surviving members of the 6888th, whose motto was “No Mail, Low Morale.” The group is being remembered during Women’s History Month for its role in keeping American troops connected to their loved ones during a perilous moment in world history.

Griggs, a Clementon, NJ, resident, helped sort and route millions of pieces of mail with thousands addressed only to common names such as “Robert Smith” and some just to “Junior, US Army.”

“Most of the letters came from the soldiers’ moms — to make them feel at home,” she said.

Griggs traveled through war zones to help clear the mail backlog and said the unit “all worked together” to get the job done.

“We went from Birmingham, England, to Rouen, France, then Paris. We learned a lot — especially to keep our mouths shut.”

Following her honorable discharge from the Army, Griggs worked in civil service until she retired. She looks back on her contribution to the war effort with pride.

“I feel great. It was a big help for the men,” she said.

Hands off

The Postal Service wants employees to know there are specific shipping restrictions for hand sanitizers and disinfecting wipes that contain alcohol.

As result of the novel coronavirus pandemic, the organization is seeing an increase in the number of customers attempting to ship hand sanitizers and disinfecting wipes, which are widely used to help prevent transmission of the virus and the disease it causes, COVID-19.

Hand sanitizers and disinfecting wipes that don’t contain alcohol are not regulated as hazardous materials and are allowed in the mailstream.

However, most hand sanitizers and disinfecting wipes contain flammable ethanol or isopropanol (rubbing alcohol), which are hazardous materials subject to the following mailing restrictions:

• Flammable hand sanitizers and alcohol wipes are prohibited in international, Army Post Office, Fleet Post Office and Diplomatic Post Office mail.

• Small quantities of flammable hand sanitizers and alcohol wipes can be sent in domestic mail by surface transportation only by USPS Retail Ground, Parcel Select or Parcel Select Lightweight.

• Customers can only ship up to 1 pint of liquid per package using surface transportation. Cases of 12-ounce bottles or more exceed USPS allowable limits.

Customers who want to use domestic air transportation of these products must submit a request and obtain written authorization from the product classification manager at ProductClassification@usps.gov.

For additional information, refer to Publication 52 Hazardous, Restricted, and Perishable Mail, Appendix C, Packaging Instruction 3A and a new stand-up talk on the subject.

Employees should report any improper hand sanitizer mailings to HAZMAT@uspis.gov.

Keeping up

If you’re a Postal Service employee who wants to stay informed on the organization’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, don’t forget about Link mobile.

A mobile-friendly version of the Link site, Link mobile offers news reports, feature stories and informational videos, including the latest coronavirus-related content.

The site is particularly helpful to craft employees and others who don’t have regular access to postal computers but want to stay informed.

This week, Link mobile featured an overview of COVID-19 Response Command, the group leading the USPS response to the pandemic; a report on efforts to encourage employees to sign up for direct deposit to avoid potential paycheck disruptions due to the pandemic; and a notice about restrictions on shipping hand sanitizers and disinfecting wipes.

A story about postal workers who are proudly continuing to serve their communities was also published.

Link mobile covers other postal news, too, including updates on labor contracts, new products and services, and stamp releases.

Employees can access the site at www.usps.link, where they can also subscribe to weekly emails with the latest Link highlights.

Link mobile is one of several methods that USPS is using to keep employees updated on the pandemic, along with special Blue and LiteBlue pages that offer a variety of resources; stand-up talks; employee bulletin board posters; and messages on video monitors inside postal workplaces.

Truth be told

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has launched a website to combat the spread of false claims circulating about COVID-19, the disease associated with the coronavirus pandemic.

The Coronavirus Rumor Control site highlights myths about the virus and counters them with facts.

One myth, according to the site: It’s necessary for people who are sheltering in place to stockpile several weeks’ worth of groceries — a belief that has led to panic buying at supermarkets.

In fact, buying enough food for a week at a time is adequate, the site reports.

Coronavirus Rumor Control also includes links to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website, where users can get the latest information on the pandemic; a Frequently Asked Questions page; and links to other FEMA pages.

The Postal Service also offers COVID-19 Blue and LiteBlue pages with resources to help educate employees about the pandemic.

News Briefs

Scanning snapshot

Scanning snapshot. The Postal Service’s national scanning rating slipped to 97.65 percent during the week ending March 20, down from 97.86 percent one week earlier.

Each of the organization’s seven areas saw their numbers decline week to week, including top-ranked Western (98.03 percent).

Almost all 67 districts also saw declines, including top-rated Dakotas (99.17 percent). The one district that improved its score: No. 57-ranked Houston (97.19 percent), whose rating improved 0.02 percent.

Scanning data allows customers to track their mail and packages, which helps USPS deliver excellent service, boost loyalty and drive revenue.

To see the latest data, go to the Informed Visibility website and select “Customer Experience,” followed by “DES 2 Scan Performance.”

Capital news. The Postal Service recently mailed Capital Metro Area Update’s latest issue to employees in the area.

The newsletter, which is also available on Blue and LiteBlue, features articles on customer service, employees who have submitted sales leads to USPS, workplace safety and other topics.

Got news? Email your submissions to uspslink@usps.gov.