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May 31, 2019

Medical Readiness Training Exercises (MEDRETEs)

The JTF-Bravo Medical Element has been conducting Medical Readiness Training Exercises in Honduras since Oct. 1993. Since that time, they have executed more than 300 missions and treated more than 326,000 medical patients and 70,000 dental patients.

Joint Task Force-Bravo conducts MEDRETES to enhance relations through medical training with regional military forces and local civilian organizations, while supporting the host nation’s Ministry of Health efforts to provide medical care to the population. These exercises bring together key members of the U.S. and other Central American governments as well as non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

The average MEDRETE involves providing primary care at remote locations in conjunction with the local Ministry of Health, including, but not limited to: preventive medicine education, primary medical care, immunizations, and dental activities including dental extractions and oral hygiene education.

Medical Outreach Programs

The Medical Element conducts numerous outreach programs in the region to build relationships within the host nation medical community; building partner capacity and maintaining the skills of its medical providers. These efforts include surgical skills training for the Forward Surgical Section (FSS) within Honduran hospitals as well as subject matter expert exchanges in Ministry of Health facilities in the medical disciplines of Physical Therapy, Community Health and Dental, allowing our providers to teach as well as learn from our counterparts.

SOUTHCOM Situational Assessment Team (S-SAT)

The SOUTHCOM Situational Assessment Team is the standing organization for quick and efficient responses for crises in the SOUTHCOM area of operations. Although primarily focused on humanitarian assistance and disaster relief situations, the S-SAT has the necessary organic skill-sets to provide situational awareness on other issues that would potentially involve a U.S. government response.

The S-SAT is necessary to conduct an assessment before personnel are committed to a humanitarian assistance or disaster response event. Joint Task Force-Bravo maintains the capability to deploy an eight member S-SAT within 18 hours of notification. The team is comprised of a team leader, civil military operations officer, air operations planer, engineer operations planner, logistics planner, communications planner, medical planner and force protection planner and can be augmented as necessary for each situation. 

Central America Sharing Mutual Operational Knowledge and Experiences

Exercise CENTAM SMOKE is a biannual, four-day exercise that trains up to 35 firefighters from all across Central America in areas ranging from personnel protective equipment, to helicopter egress operations, to basic structural fire procedures.

The primary purpose of conducting CENTAM SMOKE is to support Department of Defense aircrews operating in Central America by training partner nation firefighters and increasing mutual aid posture, providing hands-on training with U.S. air assets to facilitate potential disaster relief efforts and medical evacuations. The exercise promotes regional cooperation through peacetime engagements to improve collective capabilities and strengthen regional partnerships.

Since 2007, JTF-Bravo has trained more than 730 firefighters from Guatemala, El Salvador, Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and Honduras, including members of the Honduran Air Force Academy and COPECO (Honduran Permanent Contingency Committee). 

Support to the Interagency and NGOs

Joint Task Force-Bravo maintains relationships with international organizations, U.S. government agencies and non-governmental organizations operating in Honduras in order to distribute donated medical supplies and equipment, school supplies and food products.

Additionally, JTF-Bravo supports the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) with the Denton Amendment Program, which allows the transport of humanitarian assistance goods on U.S. military aircrafts, free of cost, on a space available basis. USAID also conducts its Security Awareness for Everyone (SAFE) training course at Soto Cano Air Base with the support of JTF-Bravo. The course provides force protection training to USAID personnel and prepares them for work in a wide range of environments.