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Medical Logistics Flight: pulse of 20th MDG

U.S. Air Force Airmen 1st Class Cody Knoll, left, and Jennifer Lesley, 20th Medical Support Squadron biomedical equipment technicians, take apart a trauma dummy prior to accomplishing a repair at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., Jan. 31, 2018.

U.S. Air Force Airmen 1st Class Cody Knoll, left, and Jennifer Lesley, 20th Medical Support Squadron biomedical equipment technicians, take apart a trauma dummy prior to accomplishing a repair at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., Jan. 31, 2018. Medical staff use the dummy, which can generate realistic trauma responses such as convulsions and dilating pupils, to practice techniques such as applying tourniquets. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Destinee Sweeney)

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Kenneth Horn, 20th Medical Support Squadron (MDSS) outpatient record noncommissioned officer in charge (NCOIC), left, thanks Staff Sgt. Melanie Bedwell, 20th MDSS storage and distribution NCOIC, after receiving his shop’s supplies at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., Jan. 31, 2018.

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Kenneth Horn, 20th Medical Support Squadron (MDSS) outpatient record noncommissioned officer in charge (NCOIC), left, thanks Staff Sgt. Melanie Bedwell, 20th MDSS storage and distribution NCOIC, after receiving his shop’s supplies at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., Jan. 31, 2018. The medical logistics flight buys and delivers needed items to units across the 20th Medical Group. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Destinee Sweeney)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Melanie Bedwell, 20th Medical Support Squadron storage and distribution noncommissioned officer in charge, stacks pharmacy supplies onto a cart at the Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., Jan. 31, 2018.

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Melanie Bedwell, 20th Medical Support Squadron storage and distribution noncommissioned officer in charge, stacks pharmacy supplies onto a cart at the Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., Jan. 31, 2018. Bedwell distributed the supplies to various units and picked up their recyclables to dispose of. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Destinee Sweeney)

SHAW AIR FORCE BASE, S.C. -- Another day goes by and the 20th Medical Group clinic runs smoothly: patients are diagnosed, pilots are cleared to fly and children receive vaccines. Airmen and families of Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina, receive the care they need to stay healthy.

Underneath the surface, in the basement, the 20th Medical Support Squadron medical logistics flight maintains the ebb and flow of the clinic ensuring medical assemblages are deployment-ready, purchasing and distributing supplies as well as maintaining equipment.

“Our squadron is medical support and without support — mission abort,” said Airman 1st Class Stephanie Foltz, 20th MDSS medical logistics flight customer service representative. “If we can’t order all the supplies for everybody here at the clinic then the doctors and nurses can’t do their job.”

Medical logistics Airmen are responsible for supplies ranging from gloves to x-ray machines, as well as 28 medical war readiness materiel assemblages worth $2.3 million, which are equipment packages full of medical assets to support teams during real world contingencies.

Foltz said delivering materials is the most rewarding part of the job as some of the customers are very excited to receive supplies and it makes her feel good to know her flight is needed.

Biomedical equipment maintainers within the logistics flight preserve a $6 million inventory, installing, inspecting, repairing, calibrating and modifying necessary tools such as x-rays, defibrillators and training equipment to prevent patient safety hazards.

“If medical equipment isn’t calibrated correctly, doctors may misdiagnose somebody because the equipment is reading numbers wrong or vitals incorrectly,” said Master Sgt. Kristoffer Bruce, 20th MDSS medical logistics flight chief. “It’s a bad road to be on if your medical equipment is not being serviced correctly.”

In addition to serving the 20th Medical Group, the flight also supports three of Shaw’s geographically separated units at McEntire Joint National Guard Base, S.C., McGhee Tyson Air National Guard Base, Tennessee, and the 156th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron at Charlotte Air National Guard Base, North Carolina.

“If we don’t supply what’s needed to provide care to the patients and service the medical equipment to keep it running optimally, then the fliers and the Airmen and their families don’t receive the best patient experience possible which can hamper the mission,” said Bruce.

Just as a heart provides a pulse to distribute blood throughout the body, the medical logistics flight provides and maintains supplies for Shaw’s medical professionals, who, in turn, care for Team Shaw Airmen and families while promoting individual health and readiness.