(Story written by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Bryan, Navy Office of Community Outreach)
Lt. Cmdr. Kami Tabor, a native of Monroe City, Missouri, recently participated in Continuing Promise 2023, while serving aboard USNS Burlington.
Continuing Promise 2023, executed by U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command/U.S. 4th Fleet, is one of U.S. Southern Command’s premier efforts to bring health care, humanitarian assistance and civic support to communities in Latin America and the Caribbean on behalf of the people of the United States. Continuing Promise teams also provide small infrastructure and construction improvements, such as providing repairs to schools, clinics and community centers.
This deployment marks the 13th Continuing Promise mission to the region since 2007 and the first involving the U.S. Navy expeditionary fast transport ship, USNS Burlington. Burlington is an efficient, lightweight and versatile asset that is able to support soldiers, sailors, and Marines in the U.S. Southern Command area of responsibility. The ship has the capability to transport a battalion-sized element, up to 1,000 personnel, or 600 tons of cargo at high speeds.
Tabor, a 1999 high school graduate of Monroe City R-1, served the military for 21 years.
“I joined the Navy because I wanted to continue my military service,” said Tabor. “As an enlisted reserve Marine, I had completed my Nursing degree but knew that the only way to continue my nursing in the service would be to transfer branches. The Navy is the Marine Corps medical asset. With that and the love for Marines, I decided to join the Navy to continue to take care of those Marines and sailors I had been used to serving with.”
The skills and values needed to succeed in the Navy are similar to those found in Monroe City.
“Growing up in my hometown had made me always appreciate that “small town” feeling of continued kindness and helping out your fellow neighbors,” said Tabor. “The respect, humility and just overall kindness is just inherently in your blood.”
These lessons have helped Tabor while serving in the Navy.
Burlington provided a medical engagement team to each mission stop to provide direct patient care in community clinics and through host nation medical facilities. The team included veterinarians, who worked with animals in the host nation; biomedical technicians; Navy Seabees, who conducted small engine projects; and the U.S. Fleet Forces Navy Band Detachment, who entertained people through school visits and concerts.
Tabor played a key role in supporting the exercise as a naval medical officer.
“As the sole Global Health Engagement Specialist, and Public Health Nurse on this exercise, it has been my responsibility to focus on the women, peace, and security line of effort for the mission. At each port, I was responsible for conducting a 2-day workshop in collaboration with each host nation’s personnel, including police, health care workers, firefighters, EMTs, social workers, and Child Protective Agencies, just to name a few. The “Prevention of Gender Based Violence” workshop was interactive with activities designed to assist the participant in considering gender-based violence from the individual, family, institutional, and community perspectives, including topics of recognition, root causes, impact, response and prevention.”
Continuing Promise deployments have taken place almost every year over the last 17 years to aid people in the region. Since 2007, Continuing Promise medical personnel have treated more than 595,000 people, to include approximately 7,300 surgeries.
The Continuing Promise mission aims to foster goodwill, strengthen existing partnerships with partner nations and encourage the establishment of new partnerships among countries, non-governmental organizations and international organizations.
“The opportunity to conduct this exercise with our partner nations was an amazing experience and one that I will never forget,” said Tabor. “Learning from each different nation and now having that understanding of each country’s culture is priceless. I am able to take this experience and grow from the wonderful awareness and insight I have been provided.”
U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command/U.S. 4th Fleet supports U.S. Southern Command’s joint and combined military operations by employing maritime forces in cooperative maritime security operations to maintain access, enhance interoperability and build enduring partnerships in order to enhance regional security and promote peace, stability and prosperity in the Caribbean, Central and South American region.
As Tabor and other sailors continue to train and perform missions, they take pride in serving their country in the United States Navy.
“Serving in the Navy is a way of life for me and my family,” added Tabor. “With being in the military for over 21 years now, this is our life. It is humbling to know every day I go to work, in some way, shape, or form, I am able to impact another person serving our great nation and you never know, that next person might one day go on to be the Commandant in the Marine Corps or the Surgeon General of the Navy. I know one day my Navy career will come to an end and I just hope that when it does, I can look back and be proud of the time and influence I was able to have with those I served alongside.”