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News | April 22, 2020

DLA Distribution Tobyhanna provides oxygen tanks for hard-hit COVID-19 cities

By Diana Dawa, DLA Distribution Public Affairs

Defense Logistics Agency Distribution Tobyhanna, Pennsylvania, teamed with Tobyhanna Army Depot to ship 250 oxygen tanks to the U.S Army Medical Materiel Development Activity at Fort Dix, New Jersey, and 100 tanks to Madigan Army Medical Center in Seattle. 

The oxygen tanks are being distributed to medical communities to support victims of the COVID-19 pandemic in New York City and Seattle, two hard-hit U.S. cities.  

Anticipating the first major need for D-cylinder oxygen tanks would arise in the Northeast, USAMMDA purchased 350 tanks and pre-positioned them in Tobyhanna, said David Wirtz, deputy product manager for USAMMDA’s Warfighter Deployed Medical Systems Project Management Office at Fort Detrick, Maryland.

“Normally, units are sent directly from a DLA vendor to the customer, but in this situation, it wasn’t known where the units would end up,” Wirtz said. “We knew New York City was probably the likely location, and the same with Seattle, so we sent the oxygen cylinders to Tobyhanna because we knew New York would need them sooner rather than later, and Seattle could receive them a few days after.”

The TAD team asked for DDTP’s help distributing tanks it was already storing. DDTP Supervisor Michael Verton said his team quickly responded to the request. 

“The Tobyhanna Army Depot team provided us precise arrival information and worked closely with us to ensure proper receipt, all the way through shipping, where our team coordinated the shipping of these assets to the final destination, ensuring the tanks were received in a timely fashion,” he said.

Good communication and teamwork from DDTP and TAD made the mission easier to manage, added Alex Schroth from DDTP’s Retail Division.

“We cooperatively work to protect the citizens of this country every day,” he said. “Normally, our mission is to protect the citizens of our country through warfighter support. This situation gave us the opportunity to provide a different kind of support, one that is just as important given the current circumstances.”

DDTP may be called on again for COVID-19 support.  

“We plan to purchase 150 more tanks to pre-position at Tobyhanna in the event the mission evolves and additional support is needed in alternate locations due to the COVID-19 crisis,” Wirtz said.