Lib calls, Army responds

‪Lib Island residents crowded around a USAG-KA helicopter that arrived Sunday to medivac several people from the isolated island.‬ Photo: UsAG-KA Host Nation Office.


A medical evacuation by Army helicopter of two pregnant women, an elderly man and a child from Lib Island this past Sunday was hailed as “extraordinary” by a Kwajalein member of Nitijela.

“On a moment notice, a humanitarian and selfless act by Colonel Jeremy Bartel and his team saved six lives by dispatching a helicopter to Lib Island,” said Kwajalein Nitijela Member David Paul.

Two pregnant women were having labor difficulties, an elderly man was experiencing chest pains, and a young child had been suffering severe diarrhea for a week, he said.

Paul said it was amazing to see the coordination evident in making the medivac happen. It took only a couple of hours from the time of the request being made to the Army command at Kwajalein Sunday for a helicopter and crew — including Ebeye-based Ministry of Health staff — to be mobilized and on its way to Lib to effect the medivac.

Efforts had been made the previous week to get the pregnant women picked up and brought into Ebeye hospital by boat. But poor ocean conditions prevented small boats from operating between Ebeye and Lib, which is located near Kwajalein’s southern tip.

The helicopter brought the four people from Lib and shortly after arrival, they were admitted into Ebeye hospital for followup.

Paul said coordination among the RMI Liaison Office’s Hilary Hosia at Kwajalein, Mayor Hirata Kabua, Col. Bartel and his team, and Lib Nitijela Member Joe Bejang made the medivac go smoothly.

“How is that for kicking off 2021 on a positive note?” asked Paul. “A simple act of kindness goes a long way.”


Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 900 other subscribers.