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Supt. Dr. Robbins Deployed to Aid Hurricane Victims - Archived Posts

Saturday, October 1, 2017

Day 10 and we were really hoping for at least a 1/2 day to catch up on some rest.  Not that if we are going to be away from home we need to be in a hotel room sleeping, but eventually 16-18 hour days will catch up to you.  Nope...........Surprise phone call at 0300 hrs and back to the flight hanger by 0400.  Finished up by 1800 (6:00 p.m.) 

Operations meeting room

In between waiting on the arrival of the flight, I did spend some time with the executive director of the South Carolina Aeronautics Commission that is our Area of Operations.  I frequently utilize his boardroom for meetings.  His name is James Stephens, a seasoned pilot and a really kind man who is working hard to serve as well.  Those of you who know me, know that I like to talk.  To make a long story short I found out that he is currently the chair of the South Carolina Aerospace Education Working Group, and is working with industry, academia, and government to promote the aerospace/aviation industry to South Carolina students. He also serves on the National Association of State Aviation Officials (NASAO) Finance, Legislative, and Unmanned Aircraft Committees, and on the advisory committee of the Transportation Research Board’s, Airport Cooperative Research Program current study entitled “Developing Innovative Strategies for Aviation Education and Participation."  We spent a considerable amount of time discussing avenues to look at the possibilities of Aerospace Education in our district if there is interest or possibly looking at a cohort of districts in our area.  "We do have an airport in our backyard" :) of which he was familiar with. 

Shane -Selfie in operations room

In closing today's blog, I have found that you always find ways to make the best out of difficult situations.

Friday, September 29th, 2017

Today was another long day.  Just to give you an idea, I was up at 5 a.m. and worked out to at least try to get some exercise to keep me motivated.  I was at my command post by 0700 hours.  After the morning briefs where we started the day off creating a contingency plan to create long and short-term stabiShane & National Guard comradlity operations, we received our first alert that an inbound flight may be coming.  Day operations consisted of discussing how we might operate by demobilizing most of our civilian partners and utilizing a crisis response team package from Ft. Jackson (Moncrief Hospital, The VA, the Aerospace Commission, and my FCC Columbia National Disaster Medical System).  The C-130 flight finally arrived after midnight and we did our thing of triaging and offloading these patients to transport them to hospitals.  Through my burning eyes, I see this big burly full bird Army Colonel.  I thought to myself, no way, but I sure think I know that guy.  I thought what the heck, so I yelled out his name.  To my surprise, I did know him.  He and I served together in the Indiana National Guard.  I ran over and gave him a big handshake and of course took a picture with him because no one would have believed it.  I finally closed my eyes at 0200 hrs.  That was a 21 hour day.  Hmmmmm, no pity party, it was a good day!




Thursday, September 28th, 2017

With our mission being the first Military FCC NDMS activation in US History, it has brought a great deal of attention to our Area of Operations.  The number of hospital and emergency management services is pretty extensive.  Couple that with the fact that they are housed in the Governor's air hanger and I would say there is a lot of pressure on us to perform at a high level at all times. 

Morning brief meeting

We have had a number of high-profile VIP visitors, including the Commanding General from Ft. Jackson and Major General Johnson (2-Star General).  However, for medical personnel, although by rank are lower, today’s visit from Brigadier General Dingle (1-star General) was pretty exciting.  Brigadier General Scott Dingle is the commanding general of the military branch’s Regional Health Command-Atlantic.  General Dingle flew in to visit our AO and speak to both the military personnel and civilians conducting the mission.  He was also able to observe an aircraft come in and drop off patients.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

SC Governor.jpgThe South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster visited the Aeronautics Commission hanger where our Command Post and Coordinating Center Trailers are located today.  When speaking with him, I found out the hanger we are working out of is actually where the Governor keeps his plane.  As soon as he realized our need, he moved it out to make room for our operation.  


We continue to prepare for the impending increase of patient flow.  In the meantime keep prayers going for the people of Puerto Rico.  I hope to see everyone soon.



Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Dr. Robbins Briefing TeamHere is a picture of our morning brief, after yet another 16 hour day.  


Although our patient loads are still not picking up, we have been maintaining 24 hour operations reporting to MEDCOM and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.  We continue to see private flights with very severely ill patients being evacuated off both the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.  Our battle rhythm continues to synchronize daily with our partners from The South Carolina Forestry Department, and the South Carolina Hospital Emergency Response Team (HERT).  I accepted this assignment in May, so this has been a really quick transition.  However, with this type of mission, my Superintendent role has been very beneficial as my military team works closely with several civilian partners.  The rapid bonding with a new team that has a common purpose has been amazing.  In the picture below, I was preparing to participate in a Google hangout with some of our amazing teachers at Mt. Vernon in between working groups here in South Carolina at the Aeronautics Commission.  I joked with my wife and boys that I felt like I was a real life NCIS agent.  They know that NCIS is my all time favorite show.  Leroy Jethro Gibbs…..You’ve got nothing on me Gunny!

Dr. Robbins communicating

1:00 a.m. The days are pretty unpredictable.  We received notice at about 11:00 p.m. that there was a flight headed our way from Puerto Rico with a patient.  The picture below is a gentleman being unloaded and preparing to be loaded into an ambulance and shipped to one of the local hospital partners.Patient coming off plane

Monday, September 25, 2017

I can't post pictures due to patients' HIPPA, but there are some things I would like to share.  We have Good Samaritan and the Red Cross that are on site in Puerto Rico and we are partnering with, and I'm thinking this might become an opportunity for Hancock County students to have exposure into these organizations.  I literally teared up last night when the last personal jet dropped the gentleman off and was returning to Puerto Rico.  He asked for anything we had so we loaded all the bottled water and packaged meals we had on this little plane.  

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Status update - running on three hours sleep.  We received our first patients from the Virgiin Islands and will receive the first patients from Puerto Rico tonight.  Puerto Rico's evacuations are slow because they are under a curfew and not allowing flight traffic after 7 p.m.  They are one hour behind us.  I guess besides the devastation, the conditions are really bad (drinking water, food, security).  My intel is pretty accurate as I receive a daily situation report. 


The mix of civilian and military partners is really special.  This is the first fully activated department of defense Federal Coordinating Center Defense Support of Civilian Authorities mission!

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