DULMEN, Germany -- Two medical maintenance technicians from the U.S. Army Medical Materiel Center-Europe completed an assignment at the Army’s prepositioned stocks, or APS, site in Europe, bringing more than 400 pieces of medical equipment up to full mission capability.
Spc. Joel Velasco and Donald Shelton supplemented the APS site’s biomedical equipment team and collaboratively evaluated, calibrated and repaired a variety of critical patient care devices, from diagnostic tools to defibrillators and patient vital monitors, all of which are kept in APS.
“The team expended nearly 500 manhours over the course of 400-plus pieces of equipment,” said Warrant Officer 1 Anthony Reyna, of USAMMC-E’s Clinical Engineering Division. “This mission aimed to ensure that medical equipment is functioning optimally and meets the required standards for patient safety should there be contingency operations that need the equipment.”
APS is a cornerstone of the Army’s ability to rapidly project power and send a clear signal of U.S. commitment. Sets of equipment, from tanks to tactical combat casualty care sets, are strategically prepositioned in climate-controlled facilities worldwide. APS reduces deployment response times by allowing Soldiers to fly to a theater and fall in directly on all the equipment they need to fight and win.
Medical APS is sustained by the U.S. Army Medical Materiel Agency. USAMMC-E and USAMMA are both direct reporting units to Army Medical Logistics Command, the Army’s life cycle management command for medical materiel.
Shelton, a civilian who served 23 years in the Army and has 44 total years of experience in biomedical equipment repair, said the work tempo of the mission was hectic but also rewarding.
“Some days, I looked up from my work and it was time to pack up,” Shelton said. “We’re supporting various mission types, from military units deploying to earthquakes and other natural disasters to aid and support to foreign governments. This makes the job very important to so many people who will never know what we accomplished here.”
Overall, the goal for medical maintainers is to increase readiness and resiliency of deployable forces, helping to ensure world-class medical care even in austere environments, he added.
“We all take great pride in knowing that the medical instruments we maintain will help save lives in every corner of the globe,” Shelton said. “My work will reach people and places you only see on the news, and in a small way, we help make lives better.”
Fellow technician Richard Giles, who is stationed at the APS site and made the request for additional support, commended Shelton and Velasco for their work, calling them “invaluable” to the success of the mission.
“Despite being called upon on short notice, both technicians quickly adapted to my shop’s unique environment and were able to work collaboratively with myself and our team,” Giles said. “They adapted to my managerial style seamlessly as well.”
Giles said Shelton’s decades of experience and leadership was an asset to younger technicians, like Velsasco, who showed an eagerness to learn and work on complex equipment under difficult time constraints and deadlines pressures.
“Their willingness to adjust last minute and their can-do attitude and positive demeanor are an inspiration to myself and the whole team,” Giles said.