Naval Hospital Bremerton, Washington –
I Am Navy Medicine – from Pacific Partnership to 3rd Med Battalion – Cmdr. Mathie
By Douglas H Stutz, NHB/NMRTC Bremerton public affairs officer -- When official notification was sent on Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery’s selection of the next chief nursing officer for the Marine Corps’ 3d Medical Battalion, the chosen top candidate was wrapping up an assignment with all the trademarks of why he was nominated.
Cmdr. Cameron Mathie, assigned to Navy Medicine Readiness Training Unit Everett, was deployed on hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) participating in Pacific Partnership 2022 when he got the news of being tabbed for the position.
“I learned of and applied for the position while on Pacific Partnership 2022 deployment. I was pretty excited and honored to learn that I was chosen,” said Mathie, noting that prior experience assigned to the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, Okinawa, Japan and provided a wealth of experience as a ready medical force supporting Marines Corps mission readiness in the Indo-Pacific area of operation. “I am excited to be a part of that mission again.”
During Pacific Partnership 22, the 17th iteration of the largest annual multinational humanitarian assistance and disaster relief preparedness mission conducted in the Indo-Pacific, Mathie was casualty receiving staff nurse for a 12-bed Emergency Department for 750 assigned military and Military Sealift Command staff.
The mission made stops in Vietnam, Palau, the Philippines and Solomon Island, working with each host nation and other joint military and civilian organizations. As an integral part of providing medical care to those in need, Mathie found his experience rewarding on both a personal as well as professional basis, including having the opportunity to interact with other colleagues and host country peers.
“Getting to interact with their medical staff, and see how they provide care, often with limited resources is pretty amazing. Things that we considered rare in western medicine are common place. It really served to open your eyes to how fortunate we are, and what kind of amazing job people can do even given limited resources,” exclaimed Mathie.
While visiting Palau, an archipelago of more than 500 islands in the western Pacific between the Philippines and Guam, which includes the island Peleliu, site of a bloody WWII battle in 1944 during the island hopping campaign by the U.S. against Imperial Japanese forces, Mathie was called upon to use his clinical skills in an medical emergency.
“We had an unexpected [cardiac arrest] code in Palau and our military team ran the entire code. We achieved return of spontaneous circulation, intubated, sedated and managed the patient until transfer to the intensive care unit,” related Mathie.
Mathie was also busy helping with medical care during two weeks of collaboration the Solomon Islands, from late August to Sept. 10, 2022. There were 5,610 patients seen, 46 surgeries conducted aboard USNS Mercy with another 15 surgeries performed on ashore with the host nation.
Pacific Partnership 2022 has added to Mathie’s journey, which began in Chalfont, Pennsylvania, attending Central Bucks High School in West Doyletown, receiving his Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 2006 from the University of Pittsburgh and achieving his Master’s of Science in Nursing from Loyola University of Chicago in 2014. He set his sights early on a military career.
“I always wanted to serve. In my senior year of high school I applied for and was accepted for a NROTC Scholarship at Pitt. I wanted to do medicine and the Navy offered the better scholarship over the Army,” related Mathie, with over 16 years of active duty service and currently the department head for NMRTU Everett Medical Home Port.
He has also been an emergency department staff nurse, charge nurse, 31st MEU trauma nurse, and emergency department clinical nurse specialist. The Navy has taken him all over the world, to 60 countries and counting.
“I also look for the most exciting and challenging opportunity. I choose not to be complacent and it has led to some pretty interesting moments in my life. Now with a family - wife, son, daughter and a dog - I am interested in finding a good work/life balance to enjoy my family, Mathie said.
His upcoming duties with 3rd Med Battalion will have him leading the cadre of nurses assigned to the battalion, working with leadership to ensure operational readiness to meet the mission requirements, along with expanding training opportunities.
The 3d Medical Battalion is a medical support unit under the command of 3rd Marine Logistics Group of the U.S. Marine Corps, headquartered at Camp Foster, Okinawa, Japan. Their mission is to provide direct and general health service support to the III Marine Expeditionary Force of approximately 19,000 Marines and Sailors, in order to sustain the combat effort across the full spectrum of Marine Air-Ground Task Force operations.
Mathie attests that the best part about his career has been the opportunity to travel, as well as the rapport he has established with many co-workers..
“Seeing many of the countries not as a tourist but as a member of the Navy where we are working side-by-side with our host nation partners. Additionally, it is all the people I have met and befriended over the years. I’ve left each duty station with a group of people that I can call life-long friends. There aren’t many careers in the world that afford this opportunity,” stated Mathie.
When asked to sum up his experience with Navy Medicine in one sentence, Mathie replied, “It’s not always easy, but there are times when you take a step back and realize that the amazing opportunity you’ve been afforded could happen nowhere else.”