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NEWS | Jan. 15, 2021

Joint efforts propel Thule AB toward new normal

By Airman 1st Class Azaria E. Foster Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst Public Affairs

The 87th Medical Group and the 305th Aerial Port Squadron contributed joint efforts to support Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst’s first transportation of the COVID-19 vaccine to Thule Air Base, Greenland, Jan. 13.

In compliance with the Department of Defense’s COVID-19 vaccine operations, the units ensured safe and secure shipping of the vaccine to help protect the health and mission readiness of Thule AB personnel. 

“By supporting Thule with the shipment of the COVID-19 vaccine, Thule AB is able to continue its real-time missile warning, defense, and space surveillance mission, while also maintaining a strong presence in the Arctic with our international partners,” said U.S. Air Force Capt. Daniel Musleve, 305th APS operations officer. “The vaccine is one step in providing Thule with a means to quell the virus in a small, commingled population.”

Compared to other military bases, Thule AB is limited in size and support, but U.S. Space Force Capt. Brienna Herdrich, 821st Air Base Group logistics flight commander, believes the vaccine could stop the spread of the virus.

“Receiving the COVID-19 vaccine shipment will align us with the rest of the military. It gives people the option to take the vaccine and help us get back to a new normal,” Herdrich said.

The 305th APS is the primary aerial port responsible for replenishing critical items such as cargo, rations, and medical supplies to Thule AB. They worked alongside the 87th MDG and brought in the Defense Logistics Agency to implement the proper cold chain requirements for transporting the vaccine.

“The 87th MDG has been working closely with the Defense Logistics Agency to safely package and transport the vaccine for Thule,” said U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Ezequiel Villarreal, 87th Medical Support Squadron noncommissioned officer in charge of medical logistics. “They have provided us with insulated shipping containers [and material] to maintain [the vaccine’s] temperature throughout transport. The 305th APS has been very supportive in accommodating the strict cold chain protocols for the COVID vaccine. We are very excited to get the vaccines to Thule and help them combat any further spread of this disease.”

During transport, the 87th MDG escorted the vaccine to ensure Thule AB would receive a viable product.

“As vaccine availability increases, having the proper shipping procedures in place will ensure that we’re able to also scale our operations to meet the demand placed on the DOD transportation system,” Musleve said.