MARINE CORPS LOGISTICS BASE ALBANY, Ga. -- An MCLB Albany warehouse bay used by the Department of Defense, Humanitarian Assistance - Excess Property program, will soon be the storage facility for more than 1.5 million Humanitarian Daily Rations.
When directed by Headquarters Southern Command and Headquarters Central Command Humanitarian Assistance Program Manager, personnel here at the DoD HA-EP program Staging Facility ship out medical and other relief supplies to countries who need humanitarian aid, said Bill Lane, HA-EP program director.
The DoD Humaintarian Assistance Program decided to centralize its stateside supply operations, two and a half years ago, in support of Central Command and Southern Command peace time humanitarian engagements, at MCLB Albany through Memorandum of Agreement and Interservice Support Argeement, said Lane.
This Staging Facility is the only one of its kind in the United States, said Lane. The approximately 40,000-square-foot bay will be equipped with dehumidification and air-conditioning equipment to keep the temperature at a constant 40 degrees. Workers must be able to control the temperature inside the warehouse to maximize the HDRs shelf life, said Lane.
Along with being equipped with cooling and dehumidifying equipment, the warehouse bay must also be thoroughly insulated, sanitized and inspected to ensure rodents and bugs will not be able to sneak inside, said Lane. Once operational, the HDR warehouse bay will be equipped with an alarm and monitoring system that will notify the personnel when the temperature increases or decreases above or below the desired temperature zone. DoD HAP spent approximately $325,000 to modify the warehouse bay.
All equipment and the HDRs that will be stored here is bar coded, which will help speed up the receiving, inventory, and shipping process, said Lane. It will also enable workers to easily track the items once shipped. It is important to ensure the HDRs are used before the shelf life expires. The bar code on the rations will provide workers with the expiration date and the date the packet arrived here.
The DoD has other HA-EP Staging Facillities sites located in Headquarters Pacific Command and Headquarters European Command and is upgrading those facilities to mirror the HAP operations here, Lane said.
The agency here supplies Central Command and Southern Command with humanitarian provisions. Central Command covers the Middle East, Afghanistan and Southeast Africa while Southern Command covers South and Central America and the Caribbean. The DoD HAP recently provided HDRs to Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Some of the rations coming to Albany are left over from that humanitarian effort.
"The rations that haven't been utilized will return here for storage," said Lane. "This will be the primary area for this particular type of rations in support of all humanitarian assistance programs such as for earthquakes, fires, floods, and man-made or natural disasters."
The food rations that will be stored in the newly-modified warehouse bay are scheduled to arrive in August, said Lane.