Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J. –
Innovative readiness training (IRT) events are Department of Defense military training opportunities, exclusive to the United States and its territories, that deliver joint training opportunities to increase deployment readiness. IRTs bring together active, reserve and National Guard service members of the Army, Air Force, Navy and Marines to provide key services (health care, construction, transportation and cybersecurity) with lasting benefits for our American communities.
Annually, IRTs provide no-cost medical services to tens-of-thousands of patients across North America and the Pacific. To use a medical analogy, successful logistics are the lifeblood of military power, so supporting multiple events across the globe requires expert planning and logistical support.
“This has been the most profoundly rewarding stateside assignment in my 31-year career," said Master Sgt. Janice Johnson, 3d Medical Command (Deployment Support) G4, as Senior Medical NCO. Adding, “I am often left speechless when reflecting on my interactions with joint service military members side by side in the strategic planning and execution of MEDLOG initiatives, or upon meeting the gracious US Citizens that benefit from IRT Joint Service training efforts.”
In 2020, there are nine funded medical IRTs scheduled, from the Pacific, Guam and Hawaii, to North America, including Ohio, Tennessee, Kentucky, Mississippi, Georgia, Texas and Puerto Rico. Providing world-class health care and realistic, austere training for military medics, requires successful, resourceful, forecasting and management of Class VIII medical materiel (pharmaceuticals/medical supplies). Forecasting and planning for providing the right supplies to each IRT is a detailed, cost-conscious process. The 2020 IRT Class VIII began in 2019, with a 24-month IRT strategic planning timeline.
First Lt. Keyirra King, MCS officer in charge, describes the process, saying, “This extensive timeline permits for continual refinement of pharmaceuticals/medical supply needs. And personally, I’ve developed my MEDLOG skills in the execution of strategic planning, maintaining fiduciary responsibility, managing a 1.1 million dollar logistics operations.”
The IRT Joint Asset Management Team conducts split base operations with Medical Equipment maintained by the Air Force Reserve Command at Grissom, Air Reserve Base Indiana and Class VIII (Pharmaceuticals and medical supplies) maintained by 3d MC(DS) at the Medical Consumables Site (MCS) at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey. The partnership ensure proper requirements and commitments are in place to provide medical logistics support to planners and maintain greater accountability of assets for IRT participating units.
There are four full-time Soldiers responsible for maintaining MCS operations: 1st Lt. Keyirra King, Master Sgt. Janice Johnson, Staff Sgt. Coddington Saunders and Spc. Twiania Wilson. “With such a small team big things happen! When you trust what each person brings to the team, mission, and Program, that enhances the whole team’s leadership qualities. It's deeper than just IRT medical missions. The MCS has established a culture of trust and esprit-de-corps,” said, King.
For members of the MCS team, there is a greater sense of satisfaction supporting the IRT program. "This program is amazing and it feels good to do my part knowing that key medical services are being provided to underserved communities throughout the United States and its territories,” said Staff Sgt. Coddington Saunders.
Looking deeper than simply being a centralized clearing house for Class VIII, the primary tasks of the team are all-encompassing of maintaining, managing, distribution and reconstitution of CLVIII to funded IRT medical projects. This is accomplished through inventory management, par-level analysis, identifying burn rate trends and monitoring formulary shelf-life while taking into account logistics forecasting requirements. Based at the 3D MC(DS) Headquarters in Atlanta, the G4 staff provides oversight safeguards and administration of medical materiel requirements for current and future operations and facilitates optimal management within approved budgetary requirements.
Successful IRT Class VIII management is not a one-way operation of shipping off supplies. IRT MEDLOG staff provide IRTs onsite perspective, which affords the MCS the opportunity to correct, revamp and/or omit current processes with immediate implementation moving the program forward. MCS staff also enforces standardized procedural guidance on the execution of doctrinal MEDLOG practices and refining it to customers through practical application. Once an IRT is completed, reconstitution of unused medical materiel is tracked and returned to the MCS for safe reconstitution. MCS Class VIII Reconstitution Recovery Operations supports cost savings for medical sustainment initiatives while allowing greater usage of resources in support of the IRT program’s training opportunities.
Johnson summarizes the mission saying, “The opportunity I am afforded in providing efficient logistics support to ensure this training opportunity will continue beyond today and into the future. Because of this program I am a better planner, professional, adviser, supervisor, coach and mentor.”