III MEF service members relieve suffering in Pakistan
MCB Camp Butler
Story by Lance Cpl. Scott M. Biscuiti

SHINKIARI, Pakistan (Nov. 28, 2005) -- Nearly 200 Okinawa-based Marines and sailors set up camp Nov. 15 in the northern city of Shinkiari, Pakistan, to provide medical treatment and humanitarian aid to those affected by the massive Oct. 8 earthquake.

The service members with Combined Medical Relief Team-3 have treated more than 2,000 patients and are seeing about 200 patients a day, according to Capt. Danny Chung, public affairs officer for CMRT-3.

“We’re treating patients from sun up to sun down,” Chung said. “The medical and support staff are well trained and experienced, as many took part in the humanitarian aid provided to Indonesia and Sri Lanka after the (Dec. 26, 2004) tsunami late.”

The field hospital has a triage area staffed by family practitioners and medical officers, according to Navy Cmdr. Tom Davis, chief of professional services and trauma surgeon. Other capabilities include emergency care, acute care, intensive care, a laboratory, a pharmacy, x-ray capabilities, dental care, a pre-operation and post-operation unit and a 60-bed ward.

“We’ve been treating many injuries including chronic wounds, fractures and skin tumors,” said Navy Cmdr. Joseph Taddeo, a general surgeon with 3rd Medical Battalion, III MEF. “Spirits are high and people are psyched to be here helping.”

All of the service members have been working hard to save lives and provide assistance, according to Davis.

“Personally, it’s very challenging to be away from the luxuries we take advantage of daily and seeing the hardship that people (in Pakistan) endure,” said Pfc. Christian J. Elomina, a data clerk with 3rd Med. Bn. and native of Guam. “It’s important to be here doing what we need to do … we are people also and we want to help.”

Seaman Timothy P. Granger, a hospital corpsman with 3rd Medical Battalion, said the morale of the corpsmen is extremely high because of the nature of this deployment.

“It’s not very often that you get a chance to travel to a far off country and truly help the people,” Granger said. “I truly love what I do.”