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News | Nov. 20, 2017

DLA Distribution Hill provides deployable hospitals to the warfighter

By Alan Arnold, DLA Distribution DLA Distribution Hill, Utah

If you’ve ever driven past building 1160 on the west side of Hill Air Force Base, you may have wondered about the hundreds of containers stacked behind it.  

Building 1160 is the home of DLA Distribution’s Medical Assembly and Shelter Repair (DEPMEDS).  Established in the early 1980’s and moving to HAFB’s building 1160 in 2002, DEPMEDS consists of two separate missions as the organization’s name suggests. 

The first is the medical assembly mission which is in support of the United States Army Medical Materiel Agency.  DLA Distribution employees have the responsibility to fill the necessary orders ranging from restocking a small dentist office to the assembly of everything required for a full thousand bed deployable hospital. The assembly team also has the responsibility to create combat life-saver kits that are small enough for the warfighter to carry on their belt to large kits carried in a vehicle. 

The assembly group also conducts a second mission that they call “disassembly.”  This requires the team to unpack hospitals that had been packed years ago, stored for use in potential future conflict but, fortunately, never used.  Some of the disassembly comes directly from the field where a hospital has been deployed, each capturing reusable material and assets.

This mission requires the efforts of talented mechanics, painters, mechanic helpers, and inspectors as they repair, refurbish, and update deployable expandable shelters.  These shelters are used as communication centers, surgical centers, x-ray rooms, and many other structures in the field.

A testament to the quality of these efforts was evident when a customer visited and saw a new shelter sitting side-by-side with a completely refurbished shelter.  The customer questioned the apparent quality differences between the new shelter and the refurbished shelter.  It was at that time they were told that they were mistaken.  The shelter they thought to be the new shelter was, in fact, a shelter that was originally built in the 1980’s- deployed and refurbished several times at a cost just one-fifth that of a new shelter.

In the last 35 years, the DEPMEDS personnel have been supporting the warfighter by acting as the conduit to their medical and tactical needs. 

The next time you cross the railroad tracks coming on to the base from the Roy/5600 South gate, take a moment to notice Building 1160 to the west. Know that the personnel working there are continuing a long standing tradition of deployable medical support as well as the medical and tactical support of expandable shelters in support of America’s warfighter.

One Team, One Fight!