When U.S. Army medical units head into the field, reach-back support from highly trained logisticians is never more than a phone call away.
And in some cases, they’re right there along with them.
The second scenario played out in July as members of the Logistics Assistance Program, or LAP, a relatively new capability of U.S. Army Medical Logistics Command’s Integrated Logistics Support Center, embedded with Army field support brigades, or AFSBs, who participated in the recently completed Talisman Sabre 23 exercise.
“On a daily basis, we were there doing assessments on the medical equipment they were drawing and using for the mission and ensuring everything was accurately cataloged,” said April Bruce, a lead system technical representative, or L-STR, for the LAP. “It was also a great opportunity to provide direct hands-on training in the field.”
The LAP, a program under the AMLC ILSC’s Logistics Assistance Directorate, or LAD, serves as the point of contact for units to provide technical support and training to help facilitate self-sustaining readiness capability for field-level units.
Through its logistics assistance representatives, or LARs, and system technical representatives, or STRs, the LAP is a 24/7 resource for AFSBs and units within their supported regions across the U.S. and abroad.
“The LAP is very integral in the pre, during and post readiness assessments,” said Reginald “Reggie” Burrus, LAP deputy director for operations. “We’re that readiness enabler to make sure units and those maintenance and MEDLOG leaders understand what the data says and what to do when something isn’t as it should be.”
Talisman Sabre 23, or TS23, is a multinational field training exercise, hosted annually by the U.S. and Australia, that brings together numerous joint partners cross the Indo-Pacific region. It’s the largest exercise in terms of its logistics footprint and movement of equipment, with key support coming from several different organizations throughout the Army Materiel Command enterprise.
During the exercise, Burrus embedded with the 402nd AFSB at Gallipoli Barracks in Brisbane, Australia, and coordinated efforts with the MEDLOG team from the Combined Joint Theater Medical Command. Bruce attached to the 404th AFSB at Jezzine Barracks in Townsville, Australia, with daily interaction with the 62nd Medical Brigade.
Throughout the event, Bruce provided continuous monitoring of incoming equipment in support of the 62nd Medical Brigade and 147th Field Hospital, as well as set up progress and medical logistics support on equipment to enable medical maintenance capabilities.
The time together in the field also provided a valuable on-ground training opportunity as the units set up medical shelters and established maintenance operations, Bruce said.
“We were able to walk the unit through the setup of a maintenance shop and we did some training in the Global Combat Support System-Army system, which helps us identify and correct issues with our data records,” she said. “Being able to go through the motions in the field, rather than a classroom, was invaluable.”
Earlier in the planning for TS23, Bruce and Maj. Chris Wright, an AMLC operations officer, also provided hands-on assistance and support during the 147th FH’s equipment draw from Army Prepositioned Stocks in Japan, known as APS-4, back in April.
“Our logistics team removes materiel from long-term storage and prepares it for issue while our maintenance team ensures all maintenance-significant medical equipment is serviced for use throughout the exercise,” Wright said. “Then, 147th Field Hospital, the gaining tactical unit, has their medical maintenance warrant officers and 68As, medical maintenance NCOs, conduct the technical inspection of all equipment as well. That way, the gaining tactical unit knows it’s good to go prior to inventory and pack.”
The U.S. Army Medical Materiel Agency, a direct reporting unit to AMLC, maintains the medical contingency stocks store at APS-4, but mostly through local national and a contract workforce, which provide limited medical maintenance support. This makes the LAR/STR involvement crucial to ensuring a unit can draw its needed equipment and deploy immediately.
With Bruce’s involvement in the process, the unit noted several equipment readiness issues, such as identifying and swapping out pieces of older, unsupportable devices from equipment sets.
“I worked with USAMMA to get those swapped out from another set,” she said. “Every day, we were going through and validating the equipment and figuring out how to remedy different issues so the unit could go out fully mission capable with 100% of their equipment.”
On the ground in Australia, Burrus served as a liaison to assist in the setup of the theater-wide maintenance program by the 6th Medical Logistics Management Center and 18th Medical Command, who served as the MEDLOG planners for the event.
“We went over the battle drills, but my primary focus was on doing reporting for equipment readiness,” Burrus said. “I showed them how to use the AMLC’s total asset visibility tool and reiterated the expectations and needs for sustainment.”
It marked the first time the AMLC ILSC’s LAP took part in a largescale, multinational training exercise of TS23’s magnitude.
TS23, held July 21 to Aug. 3, was the largest iteration of the exercise yet, both in terms of geographic span and partner nation involvement of over 30,000 military personnel.
“Without medical logistics, nothing Class VIII (medical materiel) really moves, whether that’s support to the patient from injury and all the way back -- support with consumables, equipment readiness -- that’s truly the importance of the work we do,” LAD Director Jason Acevedo said.
“In this environment of unknowns, we bring the known and clarity to the table,” he added. “The LAP acts as the sensors, bringing that real-time assessment on the ground so commanders have visibility of true asset readiness.”
AMLC is the Army’s premier medical logistics organization and Life Cycle Management Command, or LCMC, for medical materiel.