ALBANY, Georgia –
More than 40,000 protective suits earmarked for military response to chemical and biological hazards have been redirected to protect those battling COVID-19 after joint efforts by the Defense Logistics Agency, Defense Threat Reduction Agency and Marine Corps Logistics Command.
Franklin Garrett, DTRA’s component property lead, said talks between his agency and DLA Disposition Services identified 41,380 Tyvek suits that could be redirected to fight the pandemic. Of those suits, 41,200 were stored at the MARCORLOGCOM Supply Chain Management Center in Albany, Georgia, while the rest were at a warehouse in Virginia.
“I personally reached out to coordinate with Robert Wilson at MARCORLOGCOM to determine a course of action for shipment to DLA,” Garrett said. “I then contacted Kelly Clabbers at DLA to discuss the transfer.”
Wilson, director for the Joint Enterprise Fielding and Surveillance Division at MARCORLOGCOM’s Supply Chain Management Center, described the suits as personal protective equipment created for chemical or biological hazards that can also be used for other missions. The equipment is usually provided to agencies requesting it for training or combat missions.
“In fact, supporting missions such as the COVID response is one of the reasons our organization exists,” he said.
The JEFS staff works with the Joint Program Executive Office for Chemical Biological Radiological and Nuclear Defense and DLA Disposition Services to oversee the disposal and reuse of chemical, biological and radiological equipment when units turn it in as excess property. Wilson’s team uses its expertise for “a robust inspection process” to identify and preserve serviceable items, which are added to JEFS inventory and maintained for use by organizations such as DTRA.
“These suits followed this process and were maintained in our inventory as contingency stock for requiring agencies,” Wilson said.
Greg Mayo, a special missions supervisor for DLA Distribution at Albany, shared his pride in the work DLA personnel contributed to make the suits available.
“This movement of essential gear shows a total team effort between DLA Distribution and DLA Disposition Services at Albany,” Mayo said. “DLA Albany is appreciative that we can provide support to this international crisis.”
Mayo and his teammates loaded the suits onto the truck for transport to DLA Distribution as DLA Disposition Services’ Kelly Clabbers, located at Fort Benning, Georgia, prepared paperwork to receive the suits and request their shipment. Clabbers started the process April 2 after hearing from Garrett that DTRA had protective equipment available.
“It was a complicated process at first to find the points of contact for the assets, but once we all made contact the process moved smoothly,” Clabbers said. “The steps needed were quite involved, but well worth it knowing that we were helping to fight against the widespread pandemic. Everyone involved was a pleasure to work with.”
Wilson added that his organization prides itself on continuously being ready to support the nation’s needs in protecting against hazards such as the COVID virus. He believes the latest effort validates the work he and his colleagues do on a daily basis.
The suits were staged at DLA Distribution at Albany for further shipment to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which assumed shipment to the final destinations.