Medical Logistics: Sustaining the Force

By Sgt. Connie JonesMay 23, 2019

Medical Check
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Moving Supplies
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CAMP ARIFJAN, Kuwait -- Go to the hospital for a gash, get bandaged, get medicine, and go home. Where do these bandages and medicine come from, though? Medical logistics makes the delivery of the equipment possible.

U.S. Army Capt. Karl Jones, 184th Sustainment Command, Mississippi Army National Guard, is the medical logistics officer for the 1st Theater Sustainment Command's Operational Command Post, servicing 8th Medical Brigade's locations across the Central Command region.

He has helped to move medical equipment and located more than $100,000 worth of frustrated (delayed) freight and redirected it to where it needed to go.

"Any time Class 8 (medical materials) has been grounded for more than 500 hours is considered frustrated. A lot of times, the equipment gets grounded at Ali Al Salem so that other cargo can be loaded, but it doesn't always get loaded to another flight and since I have visibility, I can verify where it is and where it should be," he said. "I call the [Central Receiving and Shipping Point], ensure the goods are there, I create a load plan and get it on the next flight to where it needs to go so the hospitals can restock using their order."

Since the 184th Sustainment Command is a logistical headquarters, they have resources to be able to move things using different methods.

The most important resource used is the Trans-Arabian Network for moving medical supplies. With this resource, supplies can reach most of 8th Med's locations across the Central Command.

"Last week was our first time moving something on the Trans-Arabian Network. It was a big move for us, having another option was important. Before we began this work, the only way they could move Class 8 to Saudi Arabia was using diplomatic pouches with DHL, which is a commercial carrier," Jones said.

"They could only send one part of a shipment once every 3 months due to weight restraints. This would make it hard to sustain an entire medical clinic. Now we can move the whole shipment instead of moving parts at a time."

In addition to moving things on the TAN, Jones is kept busy with the many different aspects of medical logistics every day.

"On a daily basis, I'm locating frustrated freight, tracking shipments to Saudi Arabia, checking medical maintenance in [Global Combat Support System-Army], making sure theater-wide medical preventive maintenance is happening."

Jones is grateful for the position and understands that it is a valuable one.

"Glad to be the 1st TSC's medical logistics officer. We built this position from the ground up. It's an important role and I'm glad I'm able to build the foundation for the next person who comes and I'm proud of the strides that have been made here."