HILL AIR FORCE BASE — If not for state-of-the art mobile medical equipment like that maintained by a depot on Hill Air Force Base, Army doctors treating injured soldiers in the field would encounter many more lost lives.
The U.S. Army Medical Material Agency, based in Fort Detrick in Maryland, repairs and maintains medical equipment in several locations across the world.
Learning about the agency’s far-reaching effects was amazing to Master Sgt. Hyun Kim, noncommissioned officer in charge of USAMMA’s Hill Depot.
“I was blown away at their reach,” he said. “They have operations spread out worldwide, and we are constantly on the road supporting our special forces and operations with their medical equipment and army assets.”
USAMMA focuses on developing, tailoring, delivering and sustaining medical material capabilities and data in order to support health-care operations globally.
“We know that, ultimately, the equipment that comes through our shop will eventually touch our fighters that are deployed on the front line, so our health-care providers have the mo st current, accurate and functional equipment to treat the warfighters,” Kim said.
Kim and the nearly 20 biomedical technicians working at the medical maintenance depot at Hill AFB know their equipment is needed at critical moments. The majority of the technicians have their technical professional certification, a rigorous and highly respected qualification.
“We are the center of excellence for anesthesia, pulmonary and field medical equipment,” Kim said. “If this depot were to shut down, we are not only looking at our equipment locations, but in the Middle East, Japan, and Korea, where the forward units on the front line would not get this type of equipment to treat injuries.”
Medical maintenance technician Trevor Lloyd said much of the equipment isn’t the kind found in local clinics or hospitals, but rather handheld options.
“Mobile types of equipment out in the field take the pressure off because medical personnel don’t have to roll something around on a cart,” Lloyd said.
Often, team members spend time in the field repairing medical equipment, in order to ensure the equipment is mission-ready at all times.
“Our pride and joy are the anesthesia machines,” Lloyd said. “They are one of the more complex pieces of equipment to work on, and it takes a year to learn that job.
“I like what I do, though,” he added. “It is a very fulfilling job because I know I’m helping out other people.”