An Airman from the 86th Medical Squadron was selected as Airlifter of the Week at Ramstein Air Base, after catching the national spotlight for his outstanding accomplishments during Afghan evacuation operations, Nov. 5.
Staff Sgt. Melvin Lamaar, 86 MDS Labor and Delivery supervisor, is among the few Airmen responsible for the safe and successful birth of an Afghan child on the ramp of a C-17 Globemaster lll aircraft.
“My favorite part of the Operation Allies Welcome mission is definitely the delivery on the C-17,” Melvin said. “That was such an amazing event.”
Melvin and his team arrived at the scene on the flightline on Aug. 21, where they would face a tremendous challenge.
An evacuee was in labor, and the baby was crowning. His team needed to act fast, using the resources available to them. They were able to successfully assist the mother in the delivery of her child, whom she named after the aircraft she arrived at Ramstein on, ‘Reach.’
“It speaks volumes how calm he was able to remain,” said Master Sgt. Caige Chapman, 86 MDS Maternal Child flight chief. “He made sure that the patient was safe and also realized how the Expeditionary Medical Support tent needed to be moved to the flightline to make the operation smoother.”
The original proposed location where obstetric treatments were going to take place would have required a long transportation time for pregnant evacuees. Melvin realized the importance of being able to provide treatment as soon as patients arrived due to some being close to delivering.
Melvin and his team gathered supplies and equipment, such as an infant warmer and a neonatal transporter, needed to assist a woman with delivering a child. They stationed themselves on the flightline near the Installation Deployment Readiness Center to provide critical care in a timely manner.
Chapman believes that Melvin’s decision played an important part in there being no casualties that took place at Ramstein. The transportation time that would have resulted without Melvin’s quick thinking, could have proven fatal.
This is not the first time that Melvin, a Newburgh, New York-native, caught the attention of multitudes of people for his expertise.
Melvin grew up singing in a children’s choir. While stationed at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, Melvin spent his free time performing before multiple audiences, some as large as 450 people, who came to listen to his musical performances.
From these experiences, Melvin learned how to remain calm under pressure, regardless of the gravity of any situation.
“I just tell myself to not stress or panic and to find a solution,” Melvin said. “That is how I go about a lot of things in life. I like to create actions that create change. While you can stress and worry, it does not bring you any closer to resolving the issue. I keep that at the forefront of my mind at all times.”
Being recognized for his accomplishments moved Melvin deeply and led him to an epiphany.
“To get this coin from General Olson is such a huge deal for me,” Melvin said. “It makes me realize that whatever you do, whether you feel like you’re doing something really important or just doing your job, someone is seeing it. So keep doing it and stay on track, keep striving and keep pushing forward.”