By Tom Michele, The Real McCoy Contributor
"We have to make sure we have all of the medical supplies
necessary to take care of Soldier patients to get them back to the
battlefield as soon as possible or back to a rear area combat support
Pvt. Prince Brumfield
(foreground) and Spc. Amaris Harris of the 427th Medical
Logistics Company, work on making prescription eyeglasses.
(Photo by Tom Michele)
That's the way Master Sgt. Lanita Thomas described her duty and
her unit's mission with the 427th Medical Logistics Company based at
Fort Gillem, near Atlanta. It is a U.S. Army Reserve outfit.
Thomas is one of 47 Soldiers from the 427th who did their
extended combat (ECT) training at Fort McCoy March 1-15 as
pre-mobilization training. The unit will spend 400 days in South central
Asia starting this summer.
"We will have 80 of our unit's Soldiers with us on our
mobilization," she said. Thomas, who will serve on the deployment
as the unit's first sergeant. She is an Active Guard and Reserve
Soldier, with her home in Ellenwood, Ga. She is the 427th Medical
Logistics Battalion (MLB) Operations NCOIC.
Capt. Bridgette Long Turner, company commander, from
Birmingham, Ala., and also on the ECT tour at McCoy, said, "Our
company's mission is to provide theater-level supply, medical repair
parts, medical maintenance and optical fabrication in support of
Central Command's Area of Operation." She performs her drills at
That means, as Turner explained, providing medical supplies to
support CSHs with 20,000 different items, starting with Band-Aids for
the CSHs and also for ground ambulance companies and evacuation
"We have biomedical specialists who repair all medical
equipment in-theater, such as electrocardiogram machines and
computerized tomography machines," she said.
The optical fabrication section provides regular eye glasses
for Soldiers and also inserts for the NBC masks.
At McCoy, Turner said, the 427th Soldiers ran a medical
logistics warehouse, which included a 100-percent inventory prior to
starting operations, and taking medical supplies orders from customers
such as CSHs and ambulance units. "We ensure medical supplies are
packed, loaded, shipped, properly stored and distributed to our
customers in a timely manner."
Moreover she ensures the tactical operations center supports
the company's mission, which encompasses personnel communications,
security and accountability as well as operating a medical supplies
Soldiers from the 427th MLB
load medical supplies on Air Force aircraft as part of their tasks.
Most of the supplies are packaged in standard pallet-sized boxes and
on pallets for ease of using forklift trucks.
Strap slings are used on many of the palletized boxes as lifts
also are used to be hung below helicopters for transport.
"As we fill requests by our customers, we also do a
replenishment of our supplies so we are ready for the next
requests," Turner said.
As for the importance of her mission, Turner simply said,
"Safety and competence." She further said, "Competence
is knowing your job. Our primary objective is to provide medical
support and supplies to meet our customers' needs and develop a
customer relationship with them. That means I can please my customers
and have an effective operation by having supplies on-hand and meeting
my customers' demands."
Turner's civilian occupation is being
a human resources professional at the University of Alabama
Hospital in Birmingham.
Thomas noted the importance of her work as, "Without
medical logistics, you can't take care of Soldiers down range or at
home. So, as a medical logistician, we are to make sure we provide
quality medical supplies to our customers, to meet their needs in a
timely manner so they can complete their mission."
Thomas also said, "What this all means to me, as a senior
NCO, is to make sure my Soldiers are trained efficiently to meet our
This summer's deployment will be the first for both Soldiers.
(Michele is a public affairs specialist for
Eagle Systems and Services Inc., contractor for CONUS Support Base