NEW CUMBERLAND, Pa. –
As COVID-19 continues to plague the planet, the Defense Logistics Agency fully supports the federal response by distributing vaccines across the world to austere Defense Department locations, including the Horn of Africa. Despite logistics challenges in the area of responsibility, the first shipment of Moderna COVID-19 vaccines arrived at Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, Africa, Feb. 8.
“The total team effort between DLA agencies and federal partners to ensure warfighters at Camp Lemonnier and downrange sites are supported has been nothing short of remarkable,” said Army Col. Krista Hoffman, commander, DLA Europe & Africa.
The successful vaccine distribution effort to the Horn of Africa involved a top-down synchronized effort. At the executive level, DLA Headquarters planned for vaccine acquisition and managed federal partner relationships with the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. DLA Troop Support procured the vaccine, special coolers, temperature control devices and thermal packaging boxes to maintain the low temperature requirements for the vaccines. DLA Distribution, DLA Europe & Africa and U.S. Transportation Command coordinated the transcontinental shipments from DLA Distribution Susquehanna, Pennsylvania, to DLA Distribution Sigonella, Italy. There the vaccines were received and prepared for military air shipment to DLA Distribution Djibouti for receipt and issue to the Camp Lemonnier expeditionary medical facilities.
During receipt, issue, transportation and delivery, DLA Distribution worked hand in hand with DLA Troop Support to ensure the vaccines were maintained at - 20 degrees Celsius. DLA Europe & Africa coordinated with stateside counterparts and the combatant commands to ensure vaccine orders and logistics were in place to ensure a smooth process to USTRANSCOM.
On the ground in Africa, DLA Support Team East Africa served as warfighter liaisons, ensuring timely, accurate information sharing, coordination with local expeditionary medical facilities and the Joint Logistics Operations Center to ensure the smooth roll out of the vaccine on Camp Lemonnier. The JLOC and Horn of Africa logistics readiness team validated vaccine temperature devices and received the vaccine before the final leg to the smaller, austere sites in Somalia, Africa and Manda Bay in Kenya, Africa.
As the vaccines arrived, U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Lapthe C. Flora, commanding general, Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa and U.S. Navy Capt. Kyle “Woody” Shuman, Camp Lemonnier commanding officer, posted a video message about the importance of the vaccine.
“The vaccine represents our best hope to win the fight against COVID-19,” said Flora.
Camp Lemonnier service members and Defense Department employees lined up to receive the COVID-19 vaccine on Feb. 9, the first time the vaccine was available at the base.
The operational installation enables U.S., allied and partner nation forces to be where and when they are needed to ensure security in Europe, Africa and Southwest Asia. The installation supports 27 tenant commands and hosts approximately 4,000 U.S., joint and allied forces military and civilian personnel and Defense Department contractors.