Army Medical Logistics Command supports Operation Allies Welcome

By C.J. LovelaceDecember 15, 2021

Inspecting pallet of PPE
Master Sgt. Danielle Smith inspects pallets of personal protective equipment, or PPE, at Camp Atterbury, Indiana. The PPE from Sierra Army Depot was already on ground when personnel arrived to begin processing Afghan families during Operation Allies Welcome in September. (Photo Credit: Col. Clayton Carr) VIEW ORIGINAL

FORT DETRICK, Md. -- Soldiers and Army civilians from Army Medical Logistics Command recently completed missions to support Operation Allies Welcome, ordering and distributing medical equipment and supplies.

The team requisitioned over $520,000 worth of medical screening equipment and over $460,000 worth of medical materiel required to support medical screening operations.

AMLC personnel including those serving at the U.S. Army Medical Materiel Agency and U.S. Army Medical Materiel Center-Europe, both AMLC direct reporting units, supported the mission since late July.

AMLC assisted with coordinating medical equipment and supply needs to ensure Afghan families could be screened medically, receive vaccines and continue on to the screening process to receive visas.

“We provided that oversight for medical to be able to quickly and efficiently process the guests to eventually start their new lives,” said Master Sgt. Danielle Smith, who deployed in September to assist operations.

Smith credited the great teamwork between AMLC and its partners, including the Office of the Army Surgeon General, DLA, U.S. Army Medical Materiel Center-Southwest Asia, U.S. Army Central and U.S. Army Central Command.

“It’s a real team effort,” she said. “It’s a perfect exercise to be able to practice those mission command type reach-back efforts.”

Before reaching the U.S., some families also transitioned through other countries throughout the Middle East and Europe. For those locations throughout Europe, USAMMC-E supported the effort by procuring needed medical and surgical, pharmaceutical and vaccine-related items that are typically outside the center’s normally stocked items.

Brian Swiss, chief of staff at USAMMC-E, said some of those items included different sizes of baby diapers, baby formula and nutritional supplements.

“Defense Logistics Agency-Troop Support was our main support for these non-traditional items,” Swiss said. “DLA-TS worked directly with the prime vendors and manufacturers to expedite materials in support of this operation. We could not have done this without their dedication and full support.”

Over the course of three months and counting, USAMMC-E supported thousands of evacuees transitioning through its area of responsibility, Swiss said. He credited the entire USAMMC-E staff, including its distribution and transportation, medical surgical, pharmacy, customer support and medical maintenance divisions for providing direct and indirect supports for the travelers.

“Just like with COVID, we’ve learned to always expect the unexpected,” Swiss said. “In the future, we should continue to strengthen our relationship with German suppliers to provide approved items more efficiently.”

While the effort level needed to support the mission was high, the reward of seeing people getting a chance to better their lives was just as great, said Col. Timothy Walsh, AMLC’s deputy commander.

Walsh said it was invigorating to coordinate care for the Afghan people, who showed positive attitudes and thankfulness toward service members as they entered the states looking to start a new life.

“They’re very appreciative about the fact that they’re in the United States and their immediate families were able to come,” he said.

The OAW mission has continued to underscore something that Walsh and other medical logisticians across the joint force know all too well -- if there’s a crisis going on somewhere in the world, “there’s going to be a medical aspect to it.”

“Because it involves people,” Walsh said. “People get sick. They get hurt. People have other medical requirements, even when you’re doing the most basic mission.

“[Operations like OAW teach] us to be agile, flexible and exhibit critical thinking,” he added. “And at the end of the day, it’s all about people.”