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NEWS | April 2, 2024

USAMMC-K provides MEDLOG support during Freedom Shield 2024

By C.J. Lovelace, U.S. Army Medical Logistics Command

Sustainers at the U.S. Army Medical Materiel Center-Korea exercised their role as the theater lead agent for medical materiel for U.S. Forces Korea during Freedom Shield 2024.

During the 11-day exercise that concluded March 14, USAMMC-K personnel provided running estimates on medical materiel availability and uses, as well as distribution capabilities.

USAMMC-K Commander Lt. Col. Mark Sander said the organization’s efforts helped create a realistic response environment for the training units from all the joint service headquarters within USFK.

“We play a small but essential part of the big picture in every scenario,” Sander said. “All DOD medical missions rely on USAMMC-K as a single source for operational medical sustainment because of what we represent in the scheme.”

USAMMC-K is one of three direct reporting units to U.S. Army Medical Logistics Command, the Army’s Life Cycle Management Command for medical materiel.

Freedom Shield is an annual exercise set to simulate the Korean theater of operations -- a combined, joint, multidomain and interagency operating environment. The exercise aims to build understanding between Combined Forces Command, USFK, United Nations Command and Republic of Korea Joint Chiefs of Staff, ensuring their ability to fortify the combined defense posture and enhance alliance response against security threats.

The training event included live, virtual, construction and field-based drills, involving personnel from military service branches and other federal agencies. In total, 12 countries took part in the exercise.

Members of USAMMC-K’s command team and operations staff, along with representatives from each staff section, participated in the training scenario.

“We were also enhanced with liaisons from the [Air Force, Navy and Defense Logistics Agency], who participated from our headquarters,” Sander said. “From our camp, we had about 15 members within our joint team involved in the daily activity.”

Additionally, personnel from AMLC’s Integrated Logistics Support Center, including the data analytics team, were on site for the first week of the exercise to observe and learn about USAMMC-K’s experience, challenges and data demands.

“From their observation, we already have great ideas to improve visualizations for report dashboards that can enhance decision-making and create better communication with them and AMLC, as well as our customer partners that depend on us to provide updates,” Sander explained.

A contingent of 10 Army Reserve Soldiers also conducted deployment training at USAMMC-K during the exercise. Sander said hosting the reserve Soldiers provides practical experience in onboarding a new MEDLOG team quickly and providing hands-on training, which would be required in a real contingency.

“Across the whole exercise, the entire theater trains collectively with the ROK Armed Forces and jointly across the services,” Sander said. “So this really is a whole theater military exercise engaging the skills and attention of tens of thousands of individuals working in concert. We just do our part.”

The USAMMC-K commander said it’s vital that the organization continues to be integrated into exercises that simulate large-scale combat operation contingencies, specifically because of the possibility of casualty events that have the potential to overwhelm the system without proper planning.

Communication is a key part of that support system, Sander stressed.

“Participating in exercises of this scale informs the form and style of our communications habit and rehearses the interactions so that leaders at every echelon can visualize their environment and the details they need to make better decisions,” he said. “We provide part of that feedback loop. We use that feedback loop ourselves so that we can make better plans, improve processes and put conditions and people in place with the right administrative and functional duties because we have literally trained on the complexity of such a large scenario.”

Sander also was quick to note the cooperative efforts of the U.S. Army Medical Materiel Agency, another AMLC direct reporting unit.

“We work in concert with USAMMA, who has the most significant jobs in securing and demonstrating readiness in our operation,” he said. “With the investment into forward staging … they provide the immediate surge of equipment and supplies so that operations can be successfully maintained.

“USAMMA makes the materiel available, and USAMMC-K executes the distribution through our already strong relationships and channels established,” he added. “That practical relationship and how smoothly we intend to operate shows how AMLC assets are designed to work together to bring readiness and sustainment to the warfighter.”


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