Marines, The Few, the Proud graphic that links to the Official Marine Corps website.

LCDR Bormann
Marines, Sailors take part in Operation Lone Star '02
Submitted by: Marine Forces Reserve
Story Identification Number: 200286123953
Story by Lance Cpl. Matthew J. Apprendi

WESLACO, Texas(August 2, 2002) -- They lack potable water, sewage systems, electricity, paved roads and sanitary housing. This is not in a third world country -- it's in the United States of America.

Beside living in these conditions day in and day out, the people who inhabit these colonias (Spanish term for neighborhood) have minimal to no medical and dental treatment.

More than 60 reserve Marines and sailors from 4th Medical Battalion and 4th Dental Battalion are here to rectify that problem, July 29 to Aug. 7, by taking part in a humanitarian operation coined Lone Star.

"Humanitarian operations offer Marines and sailors great training and contribute to the community at the same time -- it's a win win situation," said Lt. Gen. Dennis M. McCarthy, commander, Marine Forces Reserve, who visited the site Aug. 2.

Colonias are located along the U. S. / Mexico border. They are found in New Mexico, Arizona, California and Texas.

Texas has the largest population and number of colonias of the four states. Approximately 400,000 Texans live in the more than 1,200 settlements throughout the state. 

(above photo)
LCDR Thomas Bormann, 14th Dental Co., Forest Park, Il., pulls
6 teeth out of a colonia patient during Operation Lone Star '02.
Photo by: Lance Cpl. Matthew J. Apprendi

Sailors and Marines are focusing their attention to the very southern tip of Texas, where colonias are the densest.

The units set up shop in four different locations to give general medical care, sports physicals, immunizations, diabetic screening, dental work, pharmaceutical needs and anything that ails the more than 200 people who visit each location on a daily basis.

"The hours are long but it feels good to be on your own soil helping out Americans," said Sgt. Garrett R. Reid, detachment noncommissioned-officer-in-charge, Headquarters Surgical Company A, Pittsburgh.

The Marines are there to support the medical company, Reid said. To date, $290,000 of free treatment has been given to 3,337 patients. They expect to treat more than 7,500 people by the time the operation is complete.

"The amount of people we will treat here in the two weeks of this operation, will equal the amount a community health center will do in a year," said Brian R. Smith, M.D., M.P.H., regional director, Texas Department of Health, Region 11.

Considering the fact the days are long and the line of people never end, the
Navy / Marine team and all the volunteers will continue to help the many who want treatment. Together they work and help out their fellow Americans.