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Ralph Mitchell, a material-handling equipment forklift operator, KBR contracting, moves a tri-wall box out of a container to assist 2nd Medical Logistics Company, 2nd Marine Logistics Group (Forward), stage more than $300,000 worth of gear in preparation for shipment to Afghanistan, Aug. 30, 2009, while aboard Camp Al Taqaddum, Iraq. 2nd MEDLOG is in the final stages of their seven-month deployment to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. (Official Marine Corps photograph by Gunnery Sgt. Katesha Washington)

Photo by Gunnery Sgt. Katesha Washington

Corpsmen ship nearly $3 million worth of supplies to Afghanistan

6 Sep 2009 | Gunnery Sgt. Katesha Washington

As more U.S. troops are being sent to the fight in Afghanistan, the possibility of more troops being injured rises.   To ensure those responsible for saving limbs and lives are equipped to handle such an enormous task, sailors with the 2nd Medical Logistics Company at Camp Al Taqaddum, Iraq, have sent about $3 million worth of medical supplies and equipment to the region. 

           The shipment of the much-needed gear does more than just keep military doctors and corpsmen well-stocked to handle any emergency; it also helps to reduce the military’s footprint in Iraq.  With millions of pieces of gear still left to ship out of Iraq, anything that can be retrograded back to the U.S. or to Operation Enduring Freedom will bring military planners one step closer to reducing its footprint in Iraq.  But the major concern during the drawdown process, says Chief Petty Officer Adrian V. Dimla, the officer-in-charge of 2nd MEDLOG, is making sure he continues to support his own units in Iraq while also looking out for his fellow medical professionals in Afghanistan.

“The biggest challenge we face here at MEDLOG is continuing to receive and ship gear and equipment in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, while at the same time continuing to sustain the units within Multi National Force – West,” he said.

Some of the most sought-after items requested by military doctors and corpsmen in Afghanistan include pharmaceuticals, tourniquets, bandages and surgical gloves. Dimla and his 13 sailors are honored to have the opportunity to help out their fellow hospitalmen even if they are thousands of miles away.

 Since arriving to Al Anbar province in early March 2009, 2nd MEDLOG sailors have provided seamless logistical support to units throughout Iraq including its own command, the 2nd Marine Logistics Group (Forward), and its subordinate units.  Their mission is to provide medical equipment and supplies to the Marine Air-Ground Task Force, as well as to provide logistical support to meet the requirements for missions such as disaster relief, humanitarian relief efforts and peacekeeping operations. 

The logistics company currently has 14 sailors at Camp Al Taqaddum who are working from sunrise to sunset to consolidate the last pieces of gear and equipment before their replacements arrive in September. 

Recently, they inspected, packaged and staged in preparation for shipment, 161 pallets, tri-wall boxes, and three, 40-foot International Organization for Standardization containers in order to make the transition with their counterparts easier and to prepare them for a successful tour.  Traditionally, the incoming unit would handle a job that large, but Dimla explained that although he could have just left the work for them to do, it was important that he saw this project through to completion.

“[We did it] because it's the right thing to do. We started this retrograde process and have taken a lot of pride in the amount of gear that has been shipped out to OEF. The majority of this gear is leaving in the next few shipments and we will be able to see the completion of this task and make the transition smoother.”

As Dimla and his team prepare to end their seven-month deployment, they look back on their time in Iraq and know they’ve made a difference – in the overall mission of the U.S. military in Iraq and to their Navy brethren who are fighting to keep Marines alive in Afghanistan.

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