Photo Information

Cpl. Brandy N. Campbell of Combat Logistics Battalion 26, 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit, hands candy to a Kenyan child awaiting medical attention during a bilateral Medical Civil Assistance Project in Bargoni, Kenya, March 7, 2007. The 26th MEU conducted bilateral training and community relations projects with the Kenyan armed forces during Exercise Edged Mallet '07.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Patrick M. Johnson-Campbell

Marines, Sailors provide medical care to Kenyan community

8 Mar 2007 | Lance Cpl. Aaron J. Rock 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit

Marines and Sailors from the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit and the Bataan Strike group, along with Kenyan medical personnel, held a medical clinic for Kenyans here, March 7-8.

The bilateral Medical Civil Assistance Project (MEDCAP), was held next door to the Bargoni Primary School, which was under renovation by elements of the 26th MEU and Kenyan Army, and was intended to provide care for residents of the approximately 15-square-mile area surrounding Bargoni.

Navy Lieutenant Kyle E. Kee, Medical Service Corps, United States Navy, and medical planner for the 26th MEU, said the clinic would provide care the residents ordinarily would have difficulty getting access to.

"We're here to provide Level-One medical care for the Kenyan citizens of Bargoni and the neighboring area," he said, "We want to provide care they themselves can sustain."

Over the course of the two-day clinic, the medical personnel saw 261 local Kenyans.

Hospitalman 1st Class (FMF, SW) Eduardo Linares, an independent duty corpsman with the 26th MEU's Combat Logistics Battalion-26, said the staff worked on a wide variety of conditions.

"We saw things ranging from parasitic conditions, upper respiratory conditions, and a lot of skin conditions and infections," he said.

The clinic helped more than just the Kenyans' medical issues.

Kee said the project was intended to cultivate goodwill between the Kenyans and U.S. service members.

"We are trying to foster civil-military relations, while at the same time maintaining, if not improving, health care, personal quality of life, and standards of living," he said.

In addition to helping the Kenyans, the medical staff considered the project good training.

Linares said it gave the Americans a chance to diagnose and treat things they may not see very often.

"It was a good experience," he said, "We got to see some stuff we don't normally see in the U.S., and at the same time we got to train the junior corpsmen."

For many of the younger service members, this was their first time in an area such as Kenya.

Hospitalman 3rd Class (FMF) Jonathan R. Underberg, a corpsman in CLB-26, said he never dreamed he would be doing this when he joined the Navy.

"When I saw the recruiter's poster I knew I would be on the ocean," he said, "but I never thought I would be in Africa doing a clinic."

Underberg said he was proud he got a chance to help.

The 26th MEU is comprised of the Command Element; the Ground Combat Element, Battalion Landing Team 2/2; the Logistics Combat Element, Combat Logistics Battalion-26; and the Aviation Combat Element, Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron-264 (Reinforced).

The 26th MEU, along with the ships of the Bataan Strike Group, USS Bataan (LHD-5, USS Oak Hill (LSD-51), USS Shreveport (LPD-12), USS Nitze (DDG-94), USS Vella Gulf (CG-72), USS Underwood (FFG-36) and USS Scranton (SSN-756), deployed in early January on a routine, scheduled deployment.

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