CAMP CARROLL, Republic of Korea -- The U.S. Army Medical Materiel Center-Korea provided important medical logistics training support during a recent largescale joint training exercise with Korean forces.
Ulchi Freedom Shield, or UFS, is a biannual 11-day computer simulation-assisted command exercise that aims to strengthen the U.S.-Korea alliance and maintain readiness across the Korean Peninsula and northeast Asia.
Shawn Hardiek, USAMMC-K’s operations chief, said the exercise in August presented a great opportunity for the center, which serves as the theater lead agent for medical materiel, or TLAMM, for the Korean Peninsula, “to open their well-organized operations to tactical forces wanting to get hands-on training in medical logistics.”
“USAMMC-K is responsible for continuously sustaining the U.S. Forces operating in South Korea, so there is no better opportunity for Soldiers to get an in-depth exposure to the daily demands and experiences of working at a medical logistics hub while participating in a premier combined exercise,” Hardiek said.
As the TLAMM for USFK and joint forces, USAMMC-K, a direct reporting unit of Army Medical Logistics Command, provides continuous medical materiel support to theater medical forces, along with ensuring and assisting tactical units are integrated into the end-to-end medical supply chain. It also assists combatant commands in health logistics support planning.
Maj. Myong “Mike” Pak, USAMMC-K's deputy commander for operations, said the event focused on maintaining the alliance’s readiness and served to strengthen the security and stability of the region, but it was a great opportunity for the center to test its operations as well.
“The exercise is essential to USAMMC-K because it allows the TLAMM to test our systems and work with USFK to better support the warfighter,” Pak said.
USAMMC-K Commander Lt. Col. Mark Sander added that being involved in training scenarios like UFS shows that USFK leaders are aware of how important the medical supply chain is in the wider scope of Army operations in the region.
“USAMMC-K has cultivated a great reputation over its service as the designated TLAMM in Korea for the last 13 years,” Sander said. “The commitment and opportunity to train technical sustainment skills for our forces, civilian employees and allied partners will never be wasted here, because it is the optimal setting to experiment with simulated contingency scale in exercises like Ulchi Freedom Shield, and in real time, realize the synchronization of agencies, organizations and skills needed for real-world effects.”
A prime example of that support during UFS, USAMMC-K provided hands-on training to the 401st Medical Logistics Company, a reserve unit out of Michigan. The unit consisted of medical supply, medical maintenance and administrative professionals.
“These Soldiers gained relevant exposure to online supply systems, hands-on warehouse operations supporting real daily missions and maintaining equipment that directly supports patient care for the Army in Korea,” Hardiek said.
USAMMC-K regularly coordinates and synchronizes efforts with USFK, Eighth Army and the 19th Expeditionary Sustainment Command, helping to integrate complete end-to-end medical supply delivery across Korea, as well as support and advise USFK on important decisions in support of theater stability, Pak added.
With its longstanding relationships with the 563rd Medical Logistics Company and 65th Medical Brigade, USAMMC-K works together with partners to coordinate medical sustainment requirements for all operations and “always train as we fight.”
“There is added benefit for both USAMMC-K and the training MEDLOG company to rehearse and work together, in the event they are simultaneously activated for a common contingency mission in the future,” Pak said.
The training with the 401st MLC focused on various critical tasks for the unit, including in the use of the Theater Enterprise-Wide Logistics System, or TEWLS. Other aspects included medical maintenance, warehouse and loading operations, and the use of important supply chain systems.
Regardless of the environment or situation, Pak reiterated, USAMMC-K stands ready to support USFK in all its medical sustainment needs, including the delivery of world-class health care.
“USAMMC-K contributes to readiness by managing and sustaining the Army's countermeasures for the protection and treatment of chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear conditions, as well as bringing to bear all the routine medical supply and medical device maintenance support that the Army can leverage overseas for the joint force and U.S. Department of State interests in South Korea.”