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News | March 6, 2024

LAMAT medical assistance mission ends in St. Lucia successfully

By Staff Sgt. Madeline Herzog 12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern)

After two weeks of high-volume patient care, alongside local medical personnel, the Lesser Antilles Medical Assistance Team mission concluded in St. Lucia, March 8, 2024.

This mission brought 17 Air Force, surgeons, nurses, and technicians to St. Lucia, where they participated in health engagements and developed strong relationships with medical counterparts.

The LAMAT team marked several success stories along the way, performing 50 surgeries while exchanging valuable information and knowledge with host nation medical personnel. This effort enabled local facilities to build greater vascular surgery capacity for patients. Additionally, the team was able to build valuable relationships with their counterparts in St. Lucia.

“This mission was heavenly because of the camaraderie, networking, and above all, the use of the knowledge at the appropriate time…the wisdom that was transferred was immeasurable,” said Dr. Jason Tobierre, OKEU general surgeon. “The long-term impact is going to help a lot of people, not just from this island but from other islands as well.”

U.S. Air Force active duty and reservist Airmen worked alongside 32 St. Lucian medical personnel to train with each other and build positive relationships during their short but impactful time together.

“As the 17 LAMAT members prepare to leave, we can say with confidence that this mission has indeed sealed our special friendship with the United States military, founded on the principles of knowledge exchange, humanitarian effort, and commitment to partnership,” said Dr. Lisa Charles, OKEU director of clinical services.

The troop commander of the St. Lucia LAMAT team expressed that this mission was the best moment of his career.

“I can unequivocally say these past two weeks have been the pinnacle of my military and professional career,” said Lt. Col. Devin Watson, LAMAT troop commander. “This experience has been a journey of immense personal growth, as each day presented new challenges, new triumphs, and new relationships that have left an indelible mark on my soul.”

Mission planners included scrub nurses, post-anesthesia care unit nurses, biomedical engineering technicians, and other specialties as part of the LAMAT team in St. Lucia to ensure a broad scope of knowledge exchange.

“I would like to express our sincerest gratitude to counterparts here in St. Lucia for trusting us with your patients’ care, for treating us with such respect as colleagues and teammates, for showing us the pride, beauty, and joy found in this great country, and for reaffirming the ‘why’ many of us went into medicine in the first place,” said Watson.

“While extremely grateful for the over 220,000 Eastern Caribbean dollars of donated supplies, the truth is that this United States humanitarian effort would have been impossible without the expertise of the men and women who traveled here with the singular purpose of working alongside us to serve those in need,” said Charles.

LAMAT 2024 incorporated missions in addition to St. Lucia, including recently concluded missions in Suriname and St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Additional medical assistance team members traveled to St. Kitts and Nevis as the final stop for the LAMAT mission through the end of March.

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