DLA sends more protective equipment to Pacific troops

By Jake Joy DLA Disposition Services Public Affairs

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The Defense Logistics Agency continues sending excess personal protective equipment to Pacific-based warfighters to limit the spread of COVID-19.

DLA Disposition Services recently sent 125,000 surgical masks to Marine Corps units deployed to Okinawa after previously shipping 50,000 masks to three aircraft carriers in the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command region.

In all, the agency has provided almost half a million surgical and N95 masks that were considered Defense Department surplus before the pandemic. The items were recalled from DLA’s public sales contract holder, GovPlanet, and sent to military units, the U.S. Coast Guard, Department of Health and Human Services, Federal Emergency Management Agency and other federal agencies.

“During these unprecedented times, we are all doing our best to support those battling COVID-19 on the front lines,” said Mike Cannon, Defense Logistics Agency Disposition Services director. “We are working closely with our partners to ensure items get to those who need them. GovPlanet has done an inventory of all items they have acquired from us to find anything that may be useful to the pandemic response efforts.”

Other surplus medical supplies provided to military and federal agencies in March and April includes 24 ventilators for FEMA and Army medical teams, about 8,000 human remains pouches and over 41,000 protective suits also transferred to FEMA. The additional items are worth about $4.5 million.

Ben Waller, who directs operations at DLA Disposition Services sites in Northeast states where the pandemic has so far hit the hardest, said his employees continue to overcome challenges to quickly put helpful items in the hands of troops, first responders and medical professionals who need them the most.

“Our entire team is showing a collective brave face during a very dangerous pandemic,” he said. “We understand the seriousness of this situation, but our people are committed to executing the mission at hand while simultaneously taking care of our personal well-being.”