CAMP LEATHERNECK, Afghanistan --
Marines and sailors with the Marine Air-Ground Task Force Material Distribution Center, Supply Company, 1st Maintenance Battalion (-) (Reinforced), 1st Marine Logistics Group (Forward) sorted, staged and delivered more than $85,000 worth of consumable medical supplies to Afghan soldiers with Regional Logistics Support Command-Southwest, May 24.
This was the first of many scheduled donations of excess medical supplies to RLSC-SW, which serves as the regional logistics hub for the Afghan National Army.
After the decision was made that U.S. forces in Afghanistan will begin to drawdown, members of 1st MLG (Fwd) began to identify excess gear and equipment that would not be needed once there were fewer boots on the ground in Helmand Province.
When it came to medical supplies though, there was a problem. The Medical Logistics System had too many bandages and other consumable medical supplies. Those extra supplies would not be used in theater, and it would not be cost efficient to box them up and ship them back to the U.S. That is when the idea to transfer the excess consumable medical supplies to the ANA via RLSC-SW came about.
“Medical supplies can always be used somewhere, so we worked with the ANA to see if they would be willing to accept them,” said Lt. Cmdr. Ron Schoonover, health services support officer, 1st MLG (Fwd).
This kind of donation had never been done before, and the approval process for both the Marine Corps and the Afghan military had to be developed from the ground up. Dr. Abdul Qayum Tutakhail, the Surgeon General for the Military of Afghanistan provided the necessary approval for the project, and the idea became reality with the first delivery on May 24.
Each shipment of medical supplies that is transferred to RLSC-SW will be added to the stores of the Forward Supply Depot Element and then distributed to the members of the ANA’s 215th Corps.
“Once the supplies are donated, the RLSC-SW decides which units to send them to,” said Lt. Col. Ian Tolman, medical combat advisor, Regional Command (Southwest). “They push it throughout the region to wherever it’s needed.”
This delivery will help RLSC-SW implement their own supply process and work to effectively supply the units in their region of responsibility.
According to Schoonover, this agreement is a “win-win” for both the Marine Corps and the ANA. First MLG (Fwd) will continue to save the American people money, and the RLSC-SW will be able to provide extra medical supplies to ANA units engaged in combat operations throughout Helmand Province.