By Sgt. Michele Watson
1st Marine Logistics Group
CAMP LEATHERNECK, Afghanistan (Aug. 25, 2012) — In a plethora of items needed in a combat zone, medical supplies and equipment easily fall near the top of the list.
Marines and sailors with the Medical Logistics Detachment, Supply Company, 1st Maintenance Battalion (Reinforced), 1st Marine Logistics Group (Forward) work to ensure every service member and unit throughout Helmand Province, Afghanistan have the right amount of supplies needed for any situation.
As the sole receiver for medical supplies and equipment entering Camp Leatherneck, the MedLog is responsible for pushing supplies out to medical facilities across the area of operations. In addition to filling medical requests for dozens of units, the team also has biomedical equipment technicians (BMETs) who conduct repairs when necessary.
“Part of our mission is to provide preventive maintenance for medical equipment,” said Lt. Ryan DiParisi, MedLog officer-in-charge.
The four BMETs on the team take turns traveling to forward operating bases, patrol bases and combat outposts when a request comes in for a repair of medical equipment.
“I’ve been to multiple FOBs for maintenance and repairs on equipment,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Jeffrey Graham, BMET, MedLog. “It makes them 100 percent ready to receive any incoming patients so they can do their job to the best of their ability.”
Working out of the Supply Management Unit lot at Camp Leatherneck, Afghanistan, the MedLog team fills requests daily to push out to various medical facilities.
“A customer submits their order which goes to our customer service and from there the clerk checks the system to see if the items are on hand,” said DiParisi. “Everyone that requires medical supplies gets them from here.”
At the beginning of the deployment, the MedLog team used an antiquated Army legacy system to receive the unit requests and fill orders. During their time here, they implemented the far superior Defense Medical Logistics Standard Support system, which is used to procure line items, manage inventory, track requisitions, and monitor medical equipment requiring maintenance.
“Through the assistance of many dedicated professionals, our team was the first MedLog detachment in Afghanistan to execute the system,” said DiParisi. “The program helps MedLog conduct our mission more efficiently and effectively.”
In support of the command priority to provide excellence in tactical logistics support to the Marine Air Ground Task Force, MedLog has filled more than 13,000 items demanded valued at $3.6 million.
“We have supported 79 individual units from the Marine Corps, Navy, Army, and Air Force spread across Camp Leatherneck and 15 isolated FOBs and COPs across the area of operations,” said DiParisi.
As part of efforts to transition security responsibilities to Afghans, this group was also the first MedLog unit to donate medical supplies to Afghan National Security Forces. They have also helped with retrograde efforts by reducing their footprint by 70 percent.
Though the draw down continues, and many supplies have been retrograded or redistributed, the team still ensures they can sustain all medical assets requested from supporting units.
To help run an administratively smooth operation, Marines make up part of the team, despite the medical aspect that requires the efforts of corpsmen.
“If we don’t have an item in stock, I order the supplies,” said Cpl. Thomas Bui, supply administrator, MedLog. “It’s my responsibility to find the fastest way to get customers their orders. My job is basically saving lives when you look at it from a distance.”
With the end of their tour, the MedLog team continues to dutifully accomplish their daily tasks to ensure their number one priority is met: taking care of the war fighters.
“I’m very proud to be serving my country by what I’m doing,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Exion Huynh, BMET, MedLog. “I know that if something was to happen to a Marine and they needed medical attention, they will have the supplies necessary to be cared for. I do my best to get the supplies they need out to them as soon as possible.”