FORT BENNING, Ga. –
The Defense Logistics Agency has always focused on meeting warfighter needs, and property disposal specialists from DLA Disposition Services are playing a crucial role in supplying a new kind of warfighter in a new kind of warfare – the battle against COVID-19.
One such specialist is Disposal Service Representative Kelly Clabbers at Fort Benning, Georgia. She ensures excess medical items turned in by area units are flagged for use by those on the front lines of the pandemic. Clabbers was part of the quick efforts in April between DLA, the U.S. State Department and U.S. Transportation Command that provided 154,000 N95 masks from storage at Albany, Georgia.
Once the Reutilization, Transfer and Donation Branch staff at DLA Disposition Services learned the masks were available through the Defense Security Cooperation Agency’s Humanitarian Assistance Program, the team worked with Clabbers to receive the masks in place and request shipment to Scott Air Force Base, Illinois, in less than 48 hours. Clabbers completed her required actions from Fort Benning to make the masks available for reuse at Scott AFB with help from the HAP staff and Gregory Mayo, a DLA Distribution employee in Albany.
“They were able to get a truck out, April 1, the same day the orders were received, which arrived at Scott the following day,” Clabbers said. “It was an honor to work with all involved, and it felt great to be doing such a significant part to help with the shortage and the efforts against the spread of COVID-19.”
The masks were used by TRANSCOM to protect aircrews, aeromedical evacuation and critical care teams, and entry control point teams evacuating Defense Department patients who tested positive for COVID-19 outside the continental United States.
Clabbers and Mayo teamed up again that month with members of the Defense Threat Reduction Agency and Marine Corps Logistics Command to repurpose more than 40,000 chemical and biological protective suits to protect those battling COVID-19.
“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 Clabbers prepared paperwork to receive the suits and request their shipment. Clabbers started the process April 2 after hearing 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.”
Assisting in getting much-needed supplies to organizations, whether it was for COVID-19 support or other critical needs last year, was rewarding for Clabbers, who emphasized that DLA has an important role.
“Despite the downfalls of 2020, having the ability to help out multiple organizations with obtaining supplies and equipment necessary to keep afloat made each day worth it,” Clabbers said.
While eligible customers can normally request reusable items directly from DLA Disposition Services sites, Director Mike Cannon said his team gets guidance from DLA Headquarters on which customers have priority for COVID-related items.
“We provide our list daily to the DLA COVID-19 Task Force and issue upon their approval,” Cannon said. “Our field teammates remain at the point of the spear of our efforts and are truly providing world class support.”