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    The Blue-Green Team Fights COVID-19

    The Blue-Green Team Fights COVID-19

    Photo By Staff Sgt. Jordan Gilbert | NAVAL BASE GUAM (May 22, 2020) A detachment of U.S. Marines from Task Force Medical...... read more read more



    Story by Staff Sgt. Jordan Gilbert 

    Commander Task Force 75

    The Navy-Marine Corps team, or “blue-green” team, has a long history of service together. Though the Marine Corps falls under the Department of the Navy, it’s quite common for personnel like Navy Hospital Corpsmen to work in support of Marine Corps units. What’s unusual, however, is Marines working in support of Navy assets.

    Nevertheless, a detachment of Marines deployed to Guam to aid Task Force (TF) Medical, a task force created as a COVID-19 mitigation effort providing direct support for Sailors assigned to aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71).

    The Okinawa-based Marines arrived in April and have been supporting two Navy lines of effort within TF Medical; the first being the medical professionals of 3rd Medical Battalion, who are nursing COVID-positive patients back to health.

    “Having the Marine detachment aggregate within 3rd Medical Battalion allows for the TF Medical nurses, doctors and Corpsmen to have full focus on the dedicated mission of caring for the patients of the Theodore Roosevelt,” said Master Sgt. Jerome Brown, the Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear Defense Specialist for the task force. “This is accomplished through means of transportation and supply within the task force.”

    The Marines have managed a wide variety of duties, including the disinfection and sanitization of facilities to mitigate the spread of the virus, the supply of medical gear and personal protective equipment, transportation for both ground and air assets, and the coordination of contracts for necessities such as chow, laundry, medical waste and lodging.

    “We have embarkation, motor transport, supply, and utilities Marines on our team. Each of them hold at least one other billet here to help support the task force with logistics as a whole,” said 1st Lt. Ryan McIlhargy, the task force’s logistics officer. “From unit movement control, dispatch, communications, life support coordination, to mobility, the Marines have been a vital group of cross-trained individuals accomplishing tasks well outside what they were originally trained to do.”

    The dispatch center, which the Marines man 24/7, demands constant coordination to meet the requirements of all medical personnel, with limited assets. With a team of only 28, the Marine detachment has supported the individual needs of nearly 100 personnel since arrival in Guam.

    “The unique nature of this specific mission has been an unprecedented environment,” Brown said. “It truly envelops the joint aspects of being within the Department of the Navy as Marines, seeing how the Navy operates on their terms versus Marine Corps terms.”

    The opportunity for lessons of naval integration has not gone unnoticed, even in the dispatch center where mostly junior enlisted Marines operate.

    Pfc. Emily Plorins, an operations center clerk and dispatcher who coordinates emergency and non-emergency dispatching for Theodore Roosevelt patients and TF Medical personnel alike, said, “It’s not something I’ve experienced before. I’m learning a lot about how the Navy works and I’ve been taught life lessons from the other Marines and Sailors here that I won’t forget. I’m incredibly grateful for this opportunity.”

    “Naturally, as Marines, we are used to calling the shots,” said Maj. David Hendrickson, operations officer of TF Medical. “However we came here in a supporting role and we adapted to the situation at hand. This mission was naval integration at its finest.”

    Hendrickson led the second Navy line of effort, as his primary focus was to ensure the proper employment of his 3rd Law Enforcement (LE) Battalion Marines into a separate mission. His 123 military police (MP) supported Theodore Roosevelt Sailors who underwent at least 14 days of quarantine at local Guam hotels. “The MPs from 3rd Law Enforcement Battalion provided security augmentation to the USS Theodore Roosevelt. This included providing security forces in hotels while sailors were completing their quarantine periods,” Hendrickson said. The Marines also ensured all Sailors received necessities, by coordinating laundry services and providing meals and other consumable items.

    A complex mission with many stakeholders involved, Hendrickson liaised and synchronized with the Guam Police Department, Naval Base Guam Security Forces, and NCIS to ensure all aspects of the mission were covered. “The MPs learned the Navy Security Forces’ way of conducting operations, and we all learned what it takes to operate when a ship of this size is in port.”

    Regardless of the mission, every asset, Blue and Green, worked toward one end state– getting aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt underway again. “The hard work ethic and dedication to mission has been what led to the success of containment of this virus, allowing the warfighters of 7th fleet to get back underway,” Brown said. “It put us all in a better position to keep our fighting forces healthy, so we can keep our primary focus on defending our country and all she has to offer.”




    Date Taken: 05.22.2020
    Date Posted: 05.23.2020 03:51
    Story ID: 370694
    Location: NAVAL BASE GUAM, GU

    Web Views: 1,130
    Downloads: 2