BATTLE CREEK, Michigan, April 23, 2020 —
Three Navy aircraft carriers received an expedited shipment of 50,000 surgical masks this month after Defense Logistics Agency disposal experts discovered them among excess stock of personal protective equipment.
The masks helped fulfill a backorder for U.S. Indo-Pacific Command meant for the USS Nimitz, USS Ronald Reagan and USS Theodore Roosevelt. The DLA Disposition Services team in Columbus, Ohio, reduced shipping time by delivering the items from its warehouse directly to customers.
“The DLA workforce continues to quickly and efficiently support the nation’s warfighters despite the challenges that the coronavirus presents,” said DLA Disposition Services Director Mike Cannon. “Our Columbus site crew’s ability to quickly move masks to service members is representative of the flexibility and resilience of our employees spread across the globe. I’m extremely proud of their continued commitment to keeping our military ready and lethal.”
The surgical masks are part of a larger inventory of medical and personal protective equipment that had been replaced by the military services or exceeded its shelf life before the coronavirus pandemic. As the nation ramped up response efforts, DLA Disposition Services reclaimed excess stock from its commercial sales contractor to refill government stockpile.
The availability of masks on combat ships is especially critical, as ship configuration makes it difficult for sailors to socially distance. The USS Roosevelt recently experienced a significant coronavirus outbreak and was sent to Guam for resupply, crew rest and quarantine of infected sailors. Navy leaders have stressed, however, that operational capabilities in the Indo-Pacific area remain robust despite heightened efforts to prevent additional outbreaks aboard its vessels.
DLA Disposition Services continues to route used and excess military items like generators, personal protective equipment, cots, tents and vehicles to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, military units, supporting government organizations, law enforcement, partner nations and humanitarian organizations as part of ongoing international pandemic response.