The Secret American Government Agency Saving Lives Around The World


Rowen Vincent, Writer

The typical doctor is used to being exposed to all kinds of different sicknesses. But biochemist Katrina Mayes is not a typical doctor- she is part of a specialized American government unit focused on saving American lives around the world.


While being interviewed, Mayes was casually detoxifying poisonous letters mailed to the State Department. When the COVID-19 vaccine first came out, Mayes was tasked with a less deadly but still urgent mission named “Operation Icebox”. This involved overseeing the shipment of 200,000 doses of the vaccine to American embassies, consulates, military bases, and ports across six continents. 


Mayes and her colleagues are part of an agency within the State Department called OpMed. Before the pandemic, they were entrusted with handling Ebola, Lassa fever, Nipah viruses, and much more. A State Department official said, “You’ll find more about highly classified military units on Google than you’ll find about OpMed.” Ranging from biochemists like Mayes to “medics with guns”, these doctors even have cool code names for their operations- Guardian, Sentinel, Anodyne, Hemlock, Solitude, Erudite, Presidium, and Fanion. You can think of them like secret service- they provide 24/7 medical support to the Secretary of State, UN Ambassador, and the Deputy Secretary of State. 


Born from the ashes of Benghazi, where radicals bombed the US consulate, OpMed is the oldest cabinet-level agency in the US. So, while facing massive problems around the globe, they face backlash at home too- most people believe the problems they are tasked with should be completed by the Department of Defense or the CIA. But these doctors have not yet failed a mission, and with the amount of talent and skill they have, it is likely they never will.