07 December 2017

Machinery moves hundreds of tri-walls of medical materiel sent to Puerto Rico in October 2017, to support ongoing hurricane relief efforts. Courtesy image released by US Army.
Army Medicine Logistics Leverage Contingency Programs to Support Hurricane Relief
Ellen Crown, U.S. Army Medical Materiel Agency Public Affairs
The U.S. Army Medical Materiel Agency and the 6th Medical Logistics Management Center, in support of U.S. Army North, deployed assets to support the Department of Defense's ongoing disaster relief efforts in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

Soldiers from the 6th MLMC joined with the 551st Medical Logistics Company, home-based at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, to coordinate the medical logistics supply chain throughout the region, including nearly 200 tri-walls of medical materiel sent by USAMMA. The 6th MLMC Forward Team synchronized medical logistics capability across multiple DOD commands and mission partners in support of both Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, according to Col. Dave Sloniker, commander of the 6th MLMC. Army Medicine's Centrally Managed Unit Deployment Package Program, managed by USAMMA, provided pharmaceuticals and medical surgical items to deploying units once they arrived in the Caribbean region.

"Leveraging this contingency program to support humanitarian relief efforts provides life-saving medical materiel to the people affected by the disaster," said USAMMA Army Prepositioned Stocks and UDP Chief Kim Dankulich. "Additionally, this mission allows us to further test our contingency programs to ensure we maintain readiness for any type of mission, whether it is a stateside humanitarian mission or operations overseas."

The supplies sent by USAMMA included four UDPs, which typically support requirements for early deploying Echelon Above Brigade medical units. These packages, released under the authority of the Office of the Army Surgeon General, provide medical units with the potency and dated materiel with a shelf life of 60 months or less that are needed immediately within the first month of operations.

The UDPs are continuing to support on-ground medical teams in Puerto Rico, including Soldiers from the 14th Combat Support Hospital and the 926th Preventive Medicine detachment, part of the 44th Medical Brigade; and the 218th Veterinary Detachment, part of the 62nd Medical Brigade. The 14th CSH has set up a field hospital in Humacao, Puerto Rico, with the mission of providing lifesaving patient care in the southeast region of the island devastated by Hurricane Maria more than two months ago.

"There's more need here than what they have," said Maj. Manuel Menendez, commander of the 759th Forward Surgical Team, 44th Medical Brigade out of Fort Bragg, North Carolina. "There's people here that don't have means, and they need help so that's what we're doing."

Additionally, USAMMA sent medical supplies to St. Croix to support troops from the 575th Medical Company (Area Support), also part of the 62nd Medical Brigade.

More than 1,700 Soldiers and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers civilians are supporting relief efforts in U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. The Army has more than 15 aircraft and 520 trucks committed to relief efforts.

Content from this article was contributed by Sgt. Thomas Calvert.
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