Fort Lee Personnel Push Help to Haiti
February 5, 2010
FORT LEE, Va. -- (Feb. 5, 2010) While much of the world watched and waited for events to unfold after an earthquake devastated Haiti, Team Lee stepped up to the plate and hit a humanitarian home run.
Within hours of the 49th Quartermaster Group getting the call to stand ready for a mission to Haiti, agencies all over Fort Lee were primed to guide Soldiers through the pre-deployment process. Mike Tyson, Personnel Service Branch chief, was at the heart of the movement coordinating readiness processing for Soldiers selected to deploy to the small Caribbean country.
While the mission was still unclear, more than 450 Soldiers were processed for deployment at a moment's notice.
When Tyson, a retired sergeant major who spent more than 27 years in personnel services for the Army, heard the news about the earthquake, he knew Soldiers would respond and he was prepared to do his job.
"My number one priority is to take care of the Soldiers on Fort Lee and their Families," Tyson said. "When they need to go down range, we owe them our knowledge and our experiences to ensure they deploy with all the correct documentation, immunizations, and medical and dental requirements."
As the chief of the PSB, Tyson's responsibilities are to coordinate all Soldier readiness processing at Fort Lee whether it is for deployment or redeployment.
"This movement wouldn't have happened the way that it did without him," said Robert Gray, a project manager with the Adjutant General Support Services.
"He worked tirelessly to orchestrate this whole process."
Tyson, admittedly a humble man, isn't in it for the glory.
"I did 27 years in the military and somebody took care of me. Now I feel I should take care of Soldiers," he said.
Also on Tyson's team, Ollie Flippen and Michelle Rucker are both mobilization officers in the PSB, were instrumental in preparing the Soldiers for deployment.
While Soldier processing is among their normal duties, Rucker felt a sense of urgency in the matter.
"You never know what to expect in this kind of situation, some Soldiers have just returned from a deployment and in a moment's notice have to be prepared to rock and roll again," she said.
Flippen retired from a Soldier's life in 2004 but still hears the call of duty.
"I love taking care of Soldiers. When we got the mission we came in early and stayed late to get the job done," he said. "There wasn't any hesitation; we had to support Haiti. I wish I could go over there and help but I am here doing my part."
Kenner Army Health Clinic prepared Soldiers and Civilians deploying to Haiti by completing more than 650 medical readiness assessments within three working days.
The Soldier Readiness Clinic staff worked quickly with help from staff members from the optometry clinic, the laboratory, the active duty clinic, the primary care division and the Troop Medical Clinic.
Three members of SRC staff dedicated nearly 50 hours of off-duty time to complete the administrative tasks associated with preparing a large number of Soldiers for deployment, said Ruth Crampton, SRC chief.
"I am very grateful to the KAHC staff that supported this mission and to my staff who worked tirelessly," Crampton said. "It is a honor to provide medical services to our Soldiers as they prepare to help others."
The U.S. Army Quartermaster School Petroleum and Water Department's Petroleum Training Facility issued more than 45,000 gallons of JP-8 fuel from the Department of Defense's Defense Fuel Supply Point.
Additionally, PWD rendered laboratory testing for deploying bulk petroleum tankers. The Seaman Base Petroleum Laboratory facility provided surveillance testing assistance to ensure all deploying tankers had a passing filter effectiveness certification prior to shipment.
PWD's Water Treatment Division provided critically needed water purification equipment and raw water pump assemblies to the 49th QM Group. PWD continues to provide water purification, storage and distribution subject matter expertise telephonically and electronically to multiple water units based out of Fort Bragg, N.C., Fort Dix, N.J., and Honduras said Marshall Jones, PWD director.
Currently there are 61 Soldiers and one civilian from Fort Lee deployed to Haiti. Their missions range from recovery of American remains to logistical assistance.