Marines and Sailors attached to 1st Medical Battalion, 1st Marine Logistics Group, I Marine Expeditionary Force, have completed their vaccine support mission with the U.S. Army North to support the Federal Emergency Management Agency as part of the Whole-of-government response to COVID-19 vaccination on June 17. The battalion began deploying assistance to the U.S. vaccination effort in early February, consisting of three vaccination teams named Task Force Ray, Task Force Dewert, and Task Force Benfold. During the deployment period, the teams had supported the administration of more than 196,000 vaccines to the communities of Arlington, Texas, Baton Rouge, Louisiana and Medford, Oregon.
On February 19, the vaccine support mission began with the deployment of Task Force Ray to Arlington, Texas, and established a community vaccination center at Globe Life Field where vaccines were administered to the local community.
âThese Marines and Sailors came in and within 96 hours they were ready to go and they did a phenomenal job,â said Lt. Cmdr. Mary Reyna, Chief Nurse, 1st Medical Battalion.
Upon returning from deployment, TF Ray’s Marines and Sailors vaccinated a total of 165,000 residents at their designated vaccination site in Tarrant County of Arlington, Texas, in conjunction with Arlington Firefighters .
âIn the Navy, we think of deployments as a ship in the middle of the ocean providing security and then we’re told you’re going to Louisiana on a humanitarian mission,â said Chief Petty Officer Glenn Gagarin, Senior Chief . for Compagnie Chirurgicale-Charlie, 1st Medical Battalion. âIt was truly a unique experience.
“This effort has demonstrated how our military can help the people of our nation.” Chief Petty Officer Glenn Gagarin, Senior Enlisted Leader for Surgical Company-Charlie, 1st Medical Battalion
The deployment of Task Force Dewert to Baton Rouge, Louisiana was the first time that FEMA has conducted a joint environment with the National Guard, local government authorities including the governor and mayor, local firefighters, medical services Emergency Department and the Louisiana Department of Health. .
Just a week after TF De Wert left, Task Force Benfold boarded its flight to Medford, Oregon, to distribute a total of 26,000 vaccines to the County Community Vaccination Center located at Jackson County Expo.
âIt really showcased the capabilities of the medical battalion while supporting our garrison efforts and ongoing operations and exercises,â said Lt. Julio Menendez, operations officer of the 1st Medical Battalion. “It was also the first time the Marine Corps had deployed a fully medical unit.”
âThis is a unique humanitarian mission, and I think the military has done a great job announcing what the US military can do to help our citizens. This effort has demonstrated how our military can help the people of our nation, âsaid Gagarin.
The names of the Immunization Support Team were chosen to honor the recipients of the US Navy Hospital Men’s Medal of Honor to honor their heroic actions. Hospital Corpsman Second Class David R. Ray and Hospital Corpsman Third Class Edward C. Benfold both served in the Vietnam War. Hospitalman Richard D. Dewert served in the Korean War. The 1st Marine Logistics Group provides all six logistics functions, including health services, to support I MEF as a naval expeditionary force in preparation.