Feature   Defense News

Soldiers Return to Fort Riley After Supporting Army North in Detroit

May 29, 2020 | BY ARMY SGT. 1ST CLASS VICTOR GARDNER

The cross-functional Forward Assessment Sustainment Team, or FAST 1 from the 1st Infantry Division Sustainment Brigade, recently completed its mission in Detroit and returned home to Fort Riley, Kansas.

The 11 soldiers spent a month conducting sustainment operations in support of the 13th Expeditionary Sustainment Command, and by mission's end, was supporting the 4th Expeditionary Sustainment Command. The team's mission was to determine capability gaps and anticipate future requirements based on COVID-19 trends, but the scope of its mission evolved as time went on. 

A soldier takes another soldier’s temperature.
Temperature Time
Army Spc. Jacob Chavez, a medical specialist with the1st Infantry Division Sustainment Brigade, conducts temperature checks of Urban Augmentation Medical Task Force 801-2 team members in Detroit during their redeployment to Fort Riley, Kan., May 11, 2020.
Photo By: Army Sgt. 1st Class Victor Gardner
VIRIN: 200510-A-KI791-002

The team consists of soldiers from several military occupations, and every soldier's expertise was needed. Army Maj. Malcom Wilson volunteered to lead the team and take on the challenging mission.

''I knew what our [sustainment brigade] future mission would be and wanted to take this opportunity to better understand the [Defense Security Cooperation Agency] mission and how our brigade could best posture ourselves for future success,'' Wilson said. ''The purpose of a FAST is primarily focused on joint reception, staging, onward movement and integration.''

FAST teams were deployed to Detroit, Dallas, and Baton Rouge, Louisiana. All of their missions were similar and included varying emphasis. In Michigan, the team enabled the Federal Emergency Management Agency mission assignment, which directed the Defense Department to provide a deployable, temporary, and scalable medical staff to the state to assist with medical care at the TCF Convention Center in Detroit.

For the most part, Wilson said, he interacted with mission command at various levels during his team's time in Detroit. He credits his team with being able to work alongside and integrate with other  agencies to accomplish their mission.

A soldier reviews medical information.
Medical Information Review
Army Spc. Cody Nelson, a health care specialist with the 1st Infantry Division Sustainment Brigade, reviews medical information of soldiers preparing to redeploy from the Urban Augmentation Medical Task Force 801-2 in Detroit, May 10, 2020.
Photo By: Army Sgt. 1st Class Victor Gardner
VIRIN: 200510-A-KI791-007

''Our team directly interacted with several higher headquarters and supporting headquarters,'' Wilson said. ''The Urban Augmentation Medical Task Force 801-2 is the unit we directly supported.'' It included 85 medical personnel who provided medical support for 40 beds at the 1,000 bed Alternate Care Facility at the TCF Center in Detroit.

''We ensured UAMTF 801-2 had the requisite life support needed to accomplish their mission,'' Wilson continued. ''Our team worked with and for the 1st Medical Brigade supporting UAMTF 801-2, Army North Command [and] 13th and 4th Expeditionary Sustainment Commands to accomplish their mission. The 4th relieved the 13th toward the middle of our mission.''

FAST 1 built and ran the joint reception, staging, onward movement and integration  process for 112 soldiers and airmen directly supporting a 1,000-bed emergency medical facility at the TCF Center. The 11 FAST 1 soldiers enabled personnel accountability, medical screening, commodity management, and contracted life support. They executed 267 common access card scans used to create inbound and outbound manifests, 1,402 temperature checks, 278 medical screenings and oversaw the arrival, storage and distribution of 23,060 Tyvek suits, 11,640 N95 masks, 13,184 surgical eye shields, 49,310 pairs of surgical gloves and 85,750 protective masks.

A soldier stands at the front of a room full of people seated in chairs.
Media Awareness Class
Army Sgt. 1st Class Victor Gardner, the public affairs operations noncommissioned officer for the 1st Infantry Division Sustainment Brigade, conducts a media awareness class for Urban Augmentation Medical Task Force 801-2 members during their redeployment to Fort Riley, Kan., from Detroit, May 10, 2020.
Photo By: Army Sgt. 1st Class Victor Gardner
VIRIN: 200512-A-KI791-009

Wilson, said the team was instrumental in managing the use of three supply chains. The primary supply chain was with the state of Michigan and Michigan Incident Management Team. The secondary supply chain was with FEMA and the Michigan Army National Guard supply warehouse leaders. The third was the contingency supply chain with the Defense Department through Kelly Services USA and UAMTF 801-2.

Army Chief Warrant Officer 2 Jonathan Alter, an information services technician with the brigade sustainment automation support management office, found himself serving the team in a different capacity as a contracting officer representative.

''The team has two areas of assessment and support, implementation of government contracts and the registration of Army Reserve and National Guard soldiers who are on the frontline,'' Alter said. ''I was chosen to be a part of the initial deployment of FAST teams due to my expert technical knowledge, and my ability to quickly overcome rapidly evolving problem sets. Initially, my mission was to monitor the performance of all contracts associated with the COVID-19 response teams, and that those services were executed accordingly.

A soldier sits at a laptop computer taking identification cards from a line of people.
Card Check
Army Pfc. Nicholas Godwin, a strength management specialist with the 1st Infantry Division Sustainment Brigade, scans the common access cards of Urban Augmentation Medical Task Force 801-2 members during their redeployment from Detroit, May 12, 2020.
Photo By: Army Sgt. 1st Class Victor Gardner
VIRIN: 200513-A-KI791-004

''Over the duration of our mission,'' he continued, ''I assisted 13th ESC leadership regarding the tracking of on-hand PPE. I also advised on best practices to disseminate real-time quantities of PPE to key personnel, which included FEMA, and the medical personnel who worked at the TCF Center. This ensured everyone was aware of the current day's supply that was readily available, which allowed FEMA to forecast orders many days in advance.''

Wilson said he chose his team based on trust and shared understanding of the mission.

''Understanding the general mission stated, I selected my team based on the requirements and chose people whom I had directly worked with during our recent deployment to Afghanistan,'' Wilson said. ''I chose people who I could depend on, were resilient, and could operate independently with minimal guidance. This team deliberately duplicated key staff as we were told our mission may include executing operations at more than one location.''

Wilson added that he is sure the sustainment brigade will be ready to support any mission when called upon.

(Army Sgt. 1st Class Victor Gardner is assigned to the 1st Infantry Division Sustainment Brigade.)