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    24th MEU Medical Planner Receives Prestigious Award



    Story by Capt. Kelton Cochran 

    24th Marine Expeditionary Unit

    CAMP LEJEUNE, NORTH CAROLINA - The U.S. Navy Medical Service Corps recognizes Lieutenant Kevin A. Hunt as the 2021 Plans, Operations and Medical Intelligence (POMI) Officer of the Year. The POMI Officer of the Year is a service-level award that recognizes one U.S. Navy Medical Operations Officer who displays exemplary performance and duty. Lt. Hunt of Palm Bay, Florida has served as medical planner for the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) from June 2020 to present. His 19 years of experience in Navy Medicine were instrumental to the operational readiness and success of the MEU during its 2021 deployment cycle.

    "Hunt's ability to excel in combat and training operations, integrating medical staff from our three subordinate elements and guiding medical support functions in support of a Global Force Management deployment were pivotal in the MEU's overall success," said Lt. Cmdr. Thomas W. Luton, former 24th MEU Surgeon.

    Prior to the 24th MEU's composite and pre-deployment training program Hunt developed the unit's first-ever standard operating procedures (SOP) for medical readiness, which detailed the specific roles and responsibilities of medical personnel across the entire Marine Air-Ground Task Force which included eight Navy officers and nearly 100 sailors.

    "Lieutenant Hunt is the best planner I have had under my charge in the four years I commanded the MEU," said Col. Eric D. Cloutier, former commanding officer of the 24th MEU. "He is an invaluable asset to the MEU and most deserving to be selected as the POMI of the Year."

    Under Hunt's guidance, the composited MEU's medical team successfully supported all training and real-world requirements for more than 2,300 Marines and sailors. During late 2020 and early 2021, this support included five Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) testing evolutions and the distribution of over 4,000 coronavirus vaccine doses to 24th MEU personnel while balancing restriction-of-movement protocols between training exercises and at-sea periods. His planning efforts resulted in a 95% fully immunized force and an unprecedented zero COVID-19 cases for the embarked MEU through the entire deployment.

    Lt. Hunt deployed to Kabul, Afghanistan in support of the noncombatant evacuation operations (NEO) that took place at Hamid Karzai International Airport (HKIA), August 2021. Part of his responsibilities included ensuring each health support station in HKIA was equipped to provide daily care to the over 80,000 U.S. citizens, embassy personnel, and at-risk Afghan evacuees.

    On August 26th, a suicide bomb attack took place at Abbey Gate, an entry control point at HKIA, killing 13 U.S. service members and injuring numerous others. Hunt immediately initiated tactical-level SOP's for mass casualty and casualty evacuation in crisis contingency operations, resulting in the safe arrival of 17 wounded service members at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, Germany within a matter of hours.

    "There are so many outstanding planners in the medical operations community and it is an absolute honor that the leaders within my specialty selected me to represent the entire corps," said Hunt. "From COVID-19 to embarkation on naval shipping and ultimately participating in the Afghan NEO, the past year presented many operational challenges," he added. "I was extremely blessed to have the support of my family and fellow POMIs to navigate these events."

    Over the course of the NEO, Lt. Hunt oversaw the treatment, movement, and tracking of over 3,500 urgent, emergent, and a routine patients. Hunt's late August departure from HKIA makes him the last U.S. service member to serve as a POMI Officer on Afghan soil.

    The mission of the 24th MEU is to provide Fleet Commanders with a forward-deployed, rapid-response force capable of conducting conventional amphibious and selected maritime special operations at night or under adverse weather conditions from the sea, by surface and, by air while under communications and electronics restrictions in order to achieve the supported Combatant Commanders objectives.



    Date Taken: 03.09.2022
    Date Posted: 03.14.2022 10:49
    Story ID: 416425
    Location: CAMP LEJEUNE, NC, US 
    Hometown: PALM BAY, FL, US

    Web Views: 113
    Downloads: 0