Dr. Vickers returns from overseas duty

Local physician Dr. Lonnie Vickers, a major with the U.S. Army Reserves, recently returned from a three-month tour of duty as a medical doctor at the U.S. Army Hospital at Eagle Base in Tuzla, Bosnia. “I was part of Detachment 4 of the 5581st Army Hospital,” Dr. Vickers told the Standard-Herald on Wednesday. “I was stationed at the headquarters for an ongoing peace keeping mission for that part of the world.” During his tour, Dr. Vickers was responsible for taking care of U.S. Army, Air Force and NATO forces at the hospital. “I treated soldiers from all over the world including ones from Russia, Portugal, Romania, Italy and Spain just to name a few,” said Vickers. “Things were relatively quiet while we were there, but there were some incidents involving casualties.” While in Bosnia, Dr. Vickers also participated in weekly missions where he and his staff visited surrounding villages to provide humanitarian aid to local citizens. “We were able to offer some assistance, but the majority of our efforts were focused on the Army and Air Force at Eagle Base,” he said. “The trip and my experiences were part of a very worthwhile experience. Bringing peace and healing to a war-torn country that is very poor is very rewarding. A lot of innocent people have suffered and I was just glad I could offer my services.” In the middle of his tour, Vickers was relocated to Butzbach, Germany where he was in charge of preparing members of the 1st Armored Division to be deployed to Iraq. This time in a clinical setting, he and his staff were kept busy giving smallpox vaccinations and caring for the troops and their dependents. “In Germany, we did a lot of physicals and soldier evaluations,” said the doctor. “The entire time I was deployed, we were kept extremely busy no matter where we were.” When the war with Iraq began in late March, and the members of the 1st Armored Division were deployed, Dr. Vickers was allowed to end his tour. “The forces in Iraq already had medical resources so I was no longer needed. My active duty actually did not end until May 8, but I have been in Brady since Sunday.” After being gone from his local practice, Dr. Vickers plans are to be back in the clinic beginning Monday morning, May 19 seeing patients. “Obviously I was glad to be able to come home,” he said. “There is no place like home. For those who have never seen what countries like Bosnia are like, it is hard to imagine how good life is here in the United States.”

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