FORT DETRICK, Md. -- U.S. Army Medical Logistics Command leaders celebrated nine graduates of the Medical Logistics Management Internship Program, or MLMIP, during a ceremony June 23.
MLMIP is a competitive 11-month training program consisting of didactic education and on-the-job experience, followed by a two-year strategic level utilization assignment.
Founded in 1967, MLMIP has become the premier medical logistics training program for select midgrade commissioned and warrant officers, non-commissioned officers and civilians in the medical logistics career field.
“Historically, MLMIP has always been a challenging course -- but this is especially true during a global pandemic," AMLC Commander Brig. Gen. Michael B. Lalor said. "On top of course requirements, you all got to see firsthand the roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccine and how crucial this organization is in worldwide vaccine distribution to our military.
“COVID-19 tested all of us and I’m proud to say that all of you passed.”
Class 104 graduates include:
• Capt. Joshua Okoemu
• Capt. Matthew Smith
• Capt. Anthony Turano
• Capt. Crystal Warburton
• Capt. Chris Wright
• Master Sgt. Howard Fitzhugh
• Sgt. 1st Class Jonathan Caseja
• Staff Sgt. Danielle Diggs
• Staff Sgt. Brenda King-Vickers
MLMIP is operationally run by the U.S. Army Medical Materiel Agency, a direct reporting unit of AMLC. Of the program and its impact on readiness, USAMMA Commander Col. John “Ryan” Bailey said, “It is crucial to make sure that our service members are ready to jump in and support medical logistics, no matter where they are in the Army.”
MLMIP program manager Maj. Christopher Baisa said his goal was to train, educate and prepare the interns through instruction, relevant training opportunities and exposure to industry best business practices in order to prepare them at operational and strategic assignments.
“They are going to make decisions that will significantly impact health care and the Army,” Baisa said.
Baisa said that the greatest gain from the program comes from the on-the-job training and hands-on experience.
“These experiences provide them the knowledge, skills and attributes that are necessary to be successful in their utilization tours where they will serve at the operational and strategic levels,” Baisa said.
As part of the program, interns attended strategic-level meetings and listened to leaders work through logistical problems. Fitzhugh said that afterward, he and his classmates would debate the topics, each using their different logistical backgrounds.
“We would start diving into regulations to support our arguments. It was the best part of the program for me,” Fitzhugh said.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this MLMIP class’ ability to travel was restricted, forcing a significant portion of the training to become self-study and talking with subject-matter experts.
Wright said that COVID-19 did make for a challenging course; however, he said he still gained a wealth of knowledge on the medical logistics mission. He said he also built lasting relationships.
“Due to travel restriction, I and many others in the class had the opportunity to work directly with different sections within the organization on projects with strategic impact,” said Wright, who is serving as the USAMMA detachment commander for his utilization assignment.
Prior to applying to MLMIP, Fitzhugh worked with USAMMA during his past three deployments. He said that USAMMA has supported his unit each time in some capacity.
“Working in the directorates, I got to see changes that are coming in medical logistics and will be able explain the changes to the Soldiers I work with when I am back at the tactical and operational level,” Fitzhugh said.
Okoemu said that his greatest gain from the program was the opportunity to network and work with medical logistics leaders.
“The unselfish nature of the leadership is incredible,” Okoemu said.
Smith, who is serving as AMLC's executive officer, said that the program was an outstanding opportunity to connect with and learn from the medical logistics community.
“You have the opportunity to learn where medical is today and where it is going in the future,” Smith said. “Most importantly, you have an opportunity to help shape the future of Army medical logistics.”