From Guam to Okinawa, the Exchange supports Medical Task Force during COVID-19

Photos by U.S. Army Photo by Staff Sgt. Mark A. Kauffman
Photos by U.S. Army Photo by Staff Sgt. Mark A. Kauffman

From Guam to Okinawa, the Exchange supports Medical Task Force during COVID-19

by SSG Mark A. Kauffman
Army & Air Force Exchange Service Public Affairs

CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa – For more than 100 Medical Task for Sailors and Marines, the Army & Air Force Exchange Service provided comforts of home after they returned to Okinawa and into a 14-day quarantine.

Beginning June 2, Sailors and Marines assigned to the 3rd Medical Battalion returned home to Okinawa after spending more than 60 days providing medical aid to the crew of USS Theodore Roosevelt while the Navy’s aircraft carrier was docked in Guam in support of COVID-19 mitigation efforts.

Even with COVID-19 restrictions in place, Larry Borum, 3rd Medical Battalion deployment readiness coordinator, still wanted to make the return special, so he reached out to the Exchange for assistance.

“Providing them “welcome home” bags would be a nice gesture letting them know that everyone at 3rd Medical Battalion appreciate what they did,” Borum said.

The Camp Foster Exchange team worked together to provide the heroes a “Welcome Home” bag filled with items such as hand sanitizer, face masks, sunglasses, and a $10 gift card to name a few, to remind them that Exchange is here to support them.

“We are here to support all of our service members and this is a thank you from us to them for their support of our Nation,” said Tonja Norris, Camp Foster Exchange store manager. “We appreciate the work they did during this mission and every day.”

As a precaution, all of the returning Sailors and Marines must quarantine for 14 days. During quarantine, the Exchange will continue to meet their needs. Service members can use the Exchange personal shopper service and i360 food delivery for contactless shopping and dining, both essential customer support programs while personnel are in 14-day quarantine.

“The personal shopper program is a godsend,” said 3rd Medical Battalion commander Capt. Ronald L. Schoonover (US Navy). “If [Corpsmen and Marines] need anything to make restriction of movement more pleasant or are craving a hot meal from a name-brand restaurant, it’s just a phone call away.”

During their recent mission, Schoonover recalls the critical aid the Andersen Exchange in Guam provided.

“The consumption of our sanitization supplies was being outpaced faster than originally planned and resupply was needed quickly, Schoonover said. “I called Col. Scott Maskery, Exchange Pacific Region commander back in Okinawa, and within a few hours, we were contacted by the local Andersen Exchange manager, Ms. Patricia Murauskas, to let us know our order was ready for pick-up.”

With around-the-clock hard work and dedication to duty, the Corpsmen got the crew of USS Roosevelt back on the waters patrolling the Pacific Region.

“The Exchange played a vital part in our successful mission as we acquired the majority of our needed items for battalion functions from the Exchange,” Schoonover said. “Thanks for keeping the operating forces in mind when stocking items and supporting our mission in Guam and back at home station in Okinawa.”

Main photo caption:
On March 23, Tonja Norris, Camp Foster Exchange main store manager, James A. Pigford, Foster’s stockroom manager and Yoshimi Ikeda, administrative specialist, fills 102 “Welcome Home” gift bags for the Sailors and Marines of 3rd Medical Battalion who spent the past 2-months providing medical care to the crew of USS Roosevelt. The Exchange provided each returning service member with an expression of gratitude and appreciation for their unwavering dedication and duty with a “Welcome Home” bag filled with items to remind them that AAFES is here to support them.  All the Exchanges on the island also provided them with information on the Personal Shopper Program, Buy Online, Pick-Up in Store, and i360 food delivery for all their shopping needs to help them through their days in quarantine.


The members of “Medical Task Force” gets medically checked for symptoms of the Corona Virus when they returned home to Okinawa on June 2 after spending the past 2 months medically aiding the crew of USS Roosevelt. With the COVID-19 restriction in place, they were immediately transported to barracks designated for their 14-days of quarantine.


On 2 and 3 June, 102 “Medical Task Force” Sailors and Marines assigned to the 3rd Medical Battalion returns home to Okinawa after spending more than 60 days providing medical assistance to the crew of USS Theodore Roosevelt while the Navy’s aircraft carrier was docked in Guam in support of COVID-19 mitigation efforts. With COVID-19 restrictions in place, the traditional hero’s welcome was executed in accordance with current health protection measures and the returning Sailors and Marines immediately began their 14-days of quarantine.


3rd Medical Battalion Command Master Chief David Broomes gives a sincere welcome home speech to the members of the “Medical Task Force” who returned home to Okinawa from their mission in Guam in support of USS Theodore Roosevelt June 2. The Task Force spent more than 60 days providing medical aid and preventive measures to the crew who are back on the waters patrolling the Pacific Region.

 

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