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NEPLOs coordinate cross-country move of Navy medical personnel in COVID 19 fight

05/01/20 01:51 PM

By Cmdr. Kip Wright, Navy Emergency Preparedness Liaison Officer Program Public Affairs Officer

STAMFORD, Connecticut -- On April 22-23 Navy Emergency Preparedness Liaison Officers in Texas, Louisiana, New Jersey, and Connecticut coordinated the transfer of 49 medical personnel from Texas and Louisiana to the Bennett Medical Center in Stamford, Connecticut.

The Navy healthcare professionals are part of the Expeditionary Medical Facility-Mike from Naval Hospital Jacksonville, Florida.  Under the command of Capt. Kevin Brown, the unit consists of doctors, nurses and corpsmen.  They will reinforce the U.S. Army Urban Area Medical Task Force (UAMTF) 811-1 treating COVID-19 patients.

Cmdr. Tamara Tuttle, a Navy nurse from Dayton, Ohio, is the officer-in-charge of the unit. 

Regarding the NEPLOs, Cmdr. Tuttle said, “Their dedication to getting us to Stamford efficiently enabled the group to in-process and quickly begin integrating with our Army colleagues to assist the citizens of Stamford,” Tuttle said.

Capt. Dave Glass, Connecticut NEPLO, said,  “That was a pretty rough trip for them; C-130 to buses; straight on through with no chance to sleep -- They were in much better spirits than I would have been in when they got to Stamford.”

Cmdr. Simon Hwang began the movement on Tuesday morning, from Dallas to New Orleans. 

Another NEPLO officer, Capt. Al Matt, coordinated the movement of 14 EMF members in Louisiana as they joined the larger EMF group from Dallas. He then supervised the departure of the combined group on a C-130 Hercules transport from Naval Air Station New Orleans Joint Reserve Base to Fort Dix, New Jersey. 

“Even in a seemingly ‘easy’ movement such as this, the NEPLOs worked hard to develop solutions well into the night, ensuring EMF personnel were moved efficiently and treated professionally during this operation,” Capt. Matt said.

The EMF contingent landed at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey shortly after midnight on Wednesday morning.

EMF personnel boarded buses at JBMDL at 7:00 a.m., finally departed at 9:00 a.m., and arrived in Stamford around 11:00 a.m.

“Capt. Pete Moore, the New Jersey NEPLO, was instrumental in smoothing things out for JRSOI [Joint Reception, Staging, Onward Movement, and Integration] through JBMDL,” said Capt. Glass

Capt. Glass is a Navy Reservist who resides in Brewster, New York, and normally commutes to a civilian job in Hartford, Connecticut. 

Remaining as a contingency are 25 EMF personnel at the Kay Bailey Hutcheson Convention Center, Dallas. In addition to the Dallas crew, 18 EMF personnel remain in New Orleans supporting the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center Alternate Care Facility, while an estimated 100 remain in Baton Rouge supporting the Baton Rouge Medical Center Mid City Hospital.

The movement of military personnel also included the redeployment of 59 EMF personnel on Friday from NAS Fort Worth JRB to their permanent duty station in Jacksonville.  

Headquartered at Commander, Navy Installations Command in the Washington Navy Yard, the NEPLO Program deploys Navy Reservists on short notice to support Defense Support of Civil Authorities missions during domestic emergencies and special security events.