If you’re Mark Davis, Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics (G4) at the U.S. Army Medical Research and Development Command (USAMRDC), it all comes down to the numbers. Every single day you’re dealing with dozens of staffers across several different locations separated by hundreds and – in some cases – thousands of miles.
Given all that, it’s ironic that the most important number these days is two: as in, staffers Mr. Sapele Utu and SGT Javier Suazo, specifically.
“They are my personal Batman and Robin,” says Davis. “They are smart, intelligent, and take the mission very seriously.”
If that sort of high-level praise (and overt comparison to the original dynamic duo, no less) sounds hyperbolic, be warned that Utu and Suazo can certainly hold their own. In short, and as a result of the current pandemic, Utu has been tasked with ordering personal protective equipment (PPE) for the entire USAMRDC footprint while Suazo has been handed the keys to the distribution side of the effort. However, if you scratch the surface of those rather simplistic job descriptions, a greater and more complex contribution is quickly revealed.
Utu, for example, is a veteran Command Supply System Analyst with G4 who routinely works with more than one hundred different vendors to secure PPE for the Command and, further, recently coordinated the delivery of more than 15 thousand dollars’ worth of COVID-19 testing kits and reagents in support of the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) effort to develop a vaccine for the novel coronavirus. Beyond that, he was responsible for coordinating delivery and shipment of seven thousand cloth masks to all USAMRDC subordinate labs, including overseas units in the Republic of Georgia, Africa, and Thailand. At a time when PPE is in short supply globally, that kind of accomplishment is no small feat.
“As Logisticians, we take pride in knowing healthcare and research begins with logistics,” says Utu, who – on top of his myriad daily duties – also currently serves as the Acting Director of the Acquisition and Logistics Program Management Division and as the Acting Chief of the Equipment Management Division. “We are committed to ensuring customers receive requested items in a timely manner.”
For his part, Suazo, as a Medical Supply Specialist with G4, is similarly modest about his own substantial impact. He recently ordered, packed, and shipped more than 6,200 pieces of PPE for Army Futures Command (AFC) subordinate units; equipment which was then distributed across four separate Army installations. Closer to home, he collaborated on an effort to deliver more than 500 “push packs” (packages of rubber gloves, hand sanitizer, and masks, among other items) to USAMRDC headquarters offices in preparation for staff returning to work in the near future.
“Since the very beginning it’s been on high gear,” says Suazo of the current workload, further noting that he’s received positive feedback from several of the outside organizations impacted by his efforts.
For Davis, whose own schedule is suitably hectic these days, there’s a certain amount of relief – and pride, too – in having a dependable pair of staffers in such trying times; a sort of one-two punch, in a way. As members of the G4 team, Utu and Suazo work almost like the gears behind a watch face; operating in concert with each other to deliver required essentials in a quick, seamless manner. From a wider perspective, however, they form the essential connective tissue of the entire USAMRDC logistics operation with regards to the pandemic; their impact magnified to an even greater degree given that June 28 is recognized globally as “National Logistics Day.”
“I call them my solid professionals,” says Davis. “They are selfless and willing to do whatever it takes to get the job done.”
Indeed, it’s that type of effort – strong, positive, and always ready for the challenge – that one would imagine might even elicit a smile (or at least a stoic grin) from a certain Caped Crusader himself.
Says Suazo, fittingly, “I'm just happy to help with anything I can.”
Army Futures Command
U.S. Army Medical Research and Development Command