The Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support provided a mobile hospital package to U.S. Southern Command, who officially donated it to the country of Suriname during a ceremony July 23 to assist in their COVID-19 relief efforts.
The field hospital was procured by DLA Troop Support’s Construction and Equipment supply chain for the Department of Defense’s Humanitarian Assistance Program, or HAP, and is part of a multi-phase effort to assist Caribbean, Central American and South American nations in the pandemic. Through the HAP, SOUTHCOM has assisted 28 nations in their area of responsibility with over $135 million of supplies and equipment.
To date, C&E has provided the program with 48 mobile hospital packages, and more acquisitions are in the works.
Troy Vokes, C&E plans and integration chief with the Executive Agent office, said although the circumstances for these procurements are unique, the processes are business as usual for the supply chain.
“This is normal operations for us in C&E,” Vokes said. “We support over 1.1 million warfighter and customer actions a year. We live and breathe ’Warfighter First.‘ In this case, our warfighter was a diplomatic mission supporting Suriname citizens fighting the virus.”
The contract for the mobile hospital , valued at $865,000, was awarded June 25, and the package arrived in Suriname July 16. To get the mobile hospital to Suriname in such an efficient manner, C&E had to stay in constant correspondence with a variety of stakeholders.
“For the Suriname effort, we coordinated military airlift through U.S. Transportation Command and [Air Force] Air Mobility Command via a Special Airlift Assignment Mission,” Vokes said. “Then we shipped the materials to Charleston Air Force Base and flew everything to Suriname on a C-17 Globemaster III aircraft.”
The C&E team also coordinated offloading, customs clearances, transportation to the set-up location, training, the Suriname Presidential reception ceremony and the actual use of the hospital.
Marko Graham, C&E’s director of customer operations, said that good working relationships and open lines of communication are key to successful missions like this.
“The Suriname requirement came to SOUTHCOM and then DLA as extremely high priority due to the COVID-19 crisis,” Graham said. “We expedited [the process] to place the most quickly available mobile hospital package into Suriname in the shortest time possible within the rulesets we’re required to follow. We were able to do this because of the enduring professional relationships we have forged with all of our stakeholders.”
The mobile hospital, which is run by two diesel generators, can bed up to 70 patients.