The steps that take place when official
mail comes aboard a Navy ship or shore
activity are basically the same.
sorting and opening, routing, and controlling
this process takes place
everywhere, differences between conditions
aboard ship and those of a shore-based office
cause some of the operations to be done
differently. We will look at shipboard and
shore-based procedures separately.
INCOMING MAIL ABOARD SHIP
Mail delivered to a naval vessel falls into
two broad groupsofficial mail and personal
mail-for members of the ships company.
Personal mail is,
of course, delivered
unopened to the individual to whom it is
Official mail addressed to the
commanding officer (CO) is taken to the
captains office where it is opened by the
Yeoman (YN). Standard Organization and
Regulations of the U.S. Navy ( S O R M ) ,
OPNAVINST 3120.32, section 620.5, contains
detailed guidance for processing incoming and
Classified mail is logged in separate logs
for Confidential and Secret. The mail YN
opens the outer envelope, then delivers the
inner envelope unopened to the command
security manager or clerk who signs for it in
the mail log.
Some ships maintain an unclassified
logbook containing similar information found
in the classified material logbooks. Other
ships find this too bulky or time-consuming
and log only important documents, such as
those requiring action. Action correspondence
may be also tracked by correspondence
control slips. Your supervisor will train you
in the specific requirements of your ship.
Control slips are placed on mail as
required by local practice. Figure 4-1 is a
sample control slip.
You will fill in the
blocks identifying the material and the control
slip number and pass it to the office
This person indicates on the slip
correspondence should go for action and those
who should see it for information.
Large shipboard departments sometimes
indicate internal routing to make sure the
reaches all within the
department who should see it. The additional
routing is also indicated on the control slip.
This keeps track of the document to help keep
it moving and to make sure it is returned to
the captains office or to the next department
without undue delay.
Copies of Incoming Correspondence
Sometimes more copies of a document are
needed to ensure proper action is being taken.
You may also need to retain a copy at your
desk during the time the original is being
If you do make a copy for this
purpose, you can destroy it when the original
is returned and action has been taken.
Attaching Background Material
Before you route correspondence to the
person who is to take action, make sure you
attach all previous related correspondence and
documents such as charts or blueprints. This
preparation saves the time of the person who
must take action. If the background materials
are in the captains office, they are attached
before the letter goes to the department head.
If they are retained in the department, the YN
assigned there attaches them before delivering
the letter to the department head. Dont delay
delivery of mail while you conduct a search
for these papers, however.