CPT Marlena Lancaster receives Bronze Star

Captain Marlena Valasi Frances Lancaster with colleagues while on duty in Afghanistan. [courtesy photo]

Selected to attend Interservice Physician Assistant Program

Captain Marlena Valasi Frances Lancaster, a 2003 Tafuna High School graduate, just returned from her 3rd deployment to Afghanistan where she was recently awarded the Bronze Star Medal for her performance of outstanding service to the United States as 1st Brigade Special Troops Battalion Adjutant.

She was responsible for the largest Task Force in the Brigade Combat Team (BCT), providing personnel services to over seven companies located at fourteen separate installations. Her efforts are unsurpassed by any of her adjutant peers across the 1st Brigade. She will be honored with the Bronze Star Medal at an upcoming 82nd Airborne Division award ceremony.

Prior to deployment last year, she applied for the Interservice Physician Assistant Program. The Army Medical Department (AMEDD) Board convened on June 18-21, 2012 and the selection board results were released on September 21, 2012.

Captain Lancaster will attend Phase I of the program at the US Army Medical Field Service School, Academy of Health Science, and Fort Sam Houston, Texas.  Upon completion of Phase 1, she will choose from 13 major military medical facilities to include Tripler Army Medical Center, Honolulu, HI for Phase II and Internship.

The successful completion of her training in the IPAP will earn her a Bachelor of Science degree and Master’s degree.

She holds a BA degree in Public Relations from Central Missouri State University. According to Captain Lancaster she is looking forward to her new career in the medical field and a change of pace from being an Adjutant General (AG) Officer and Certified Jumpmaster to the Medical field & Physician Assistant.

She said, “Who knows, I may continue on and be certified as a Medical Doctor (MD).” Her decision to venture into the field of medicine was inspired when she was on her 2nd deployment to Afghanistan. According to Captain Lancaster, basically she was forced to become a field medic on the spot when the qualified field medical corpsman that traveled and accompanied them on one mission was not allowed to screen any women and children (young girls) due to culture restriction. Captain Lancaster, on the spot medic screened 160 women and children that day. She was assisted by female soldiers only.

She is a daughter of Nu’uuli and resident of Leone and has been on active duty for 5 years. Her mother Rosie Lancaster is a candidate for Delegate in this year’s upcoming General Election.

She represented American Samoa at the Inaugural 2007 White House ROTC Joint Commissioning Ceremony and received her Commission at the White House ceremony from former President George W. Bush.

Source: Media release


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