SHILOH, Ill. – Scott Air Force Base in Illinois is playing a key role in easing the baby formula in the country. U.S. Transcom, a division of the United States Department of Defense, is leading the way in finding a solution to the crisis.
U.S. Transcom, which is headquartered at Scott Air Force Base, coordinates flights of military support to Ukraine. The agency regularly plans flights that carry combat-ready troops anywhere in the world. Now, US Transcom has coordinated a mission to help solve the baby formula shortage.
On Sunday, the first overseas shipment of formula, totaling 78,000 pounds, arrived in Indianapolis. Such a trip would normally take weeks to coordinate, flying over several countries and the Atlantic Ocean. U.S. Transcom did it in a few days.
“So I found out personally on Thursday night, and we set up our working group Friday, worked through the weekend, and had delivery on Sunday,” said U.S. Navy Commander Michael Sargent.
Sargent is a planner in U.S. Transcom’s sustainment division. He oversaw all the details in the planning to get the infant formula from Germany to the United States.
“We’re doing the planning to make sure those minor details, like customs clearance [and] loading the aircraft, are all done correctly. Our mission partners would rely on [that] to actually load the aircraft, to inspect, to submit all the paperwork, to meet the drivers at the base so they have access to Germany, and the list goes on and on,” said Sargent.
U.S. Transcom also coordinated the second flight of a FedEx plane from Germany, which was met by U.S. First Lady Dr. Jill Biden when it landed Wednesday at Dulles International Airport in Washington D.C. It carried more than 100,000 pounds of infant formula. This special mission was part of Operation Fly Formula, and showcased U.S. Transcom’s motto, “Together, we deliver.”
“Most of our focus is with Ukraine, moving a warfighter across the globe,” said Sargent. “We do it daily, so to have this opportunity was unique and really rewarding. To play a role in the solution to the crisis that we have.”
Commander Sargent said U.S. Transcom would not likely be involved in future overseas shipments of baby formula since those will be coordinated by the Department of Health and Human Services with commercial airlines.