Story by: Spc. Naveed Ali Shah
JOINT BASE BALAD, Iraq — Soldiers with the 118th Multifunctional Medical Battalion, Task Force 1st Medical Brigade, 13th Sustainment Command (Expedtionary), hosted a medical logistics conference June 7-8 at Joint Base Balad, Iraq.
Medical logistics will play a large role in the upcoming strategic reposturing of forces and equipment, said Capt. Brian Osowiecki, the officer-in-charge of medical logistics with the 118th MMB and a Suffield, Conn., native.
“The conference is a chance to get everybody together in the medical logistics community to talk about [future operations in Iraq] and the medical logistics footprint in the next phase of the drawdown,” said Osowiecki, who coordinated the conference. “The Army hasn’t done something like this [drawdown] since Vietnam.”
As the drawdown begins, medical logistics units will run into many of the same difficulties seen by other units, but theirs are on a slightly different level.
“The tough thing right now is that we still have to supply world-class health care while getting this equipment out of theater,” Osowiecki said. “We’re really writing doctrine here because nothing like this has been done before.”
Medical logistics units are working to assist in the reduction of surplus materials.
Since the 118th MMB took over medical logistics operations here, the unit has retrograded more than $1.5 million worth of excess equipment and supplies out of theater, said Staff Sgt. Kimberly Robinson, medical logistics noncommissioned officer-in-charge with the 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) and an Oklahoma City native.
“Overall, the process has gone smoothly for the task we have,” Osowiecki said. “Still, we’re trying to simplify things.”
Attendees of the conference were provided the opportunity to gain assistance with any issues they are facing at the moment, particularly those with recently arrived sustainment brigades, and medical logistics personnel, Robinson said.
“[The conference] provides a forum where [medical logistics] issues can be heard and a platform where those issues can be worked out,” Robinson said. “Our decisions affect the medic, Warfighter and our customers on the ground on being able to provide the best health care service support to our Soldiers. It is important that we be an advocate for those medical supply issues affecting our units. This aids us in improving medical logistics business practices, which results in a more satisfied customer.”