SOTO CANO AIR BASE, Honduras –
Three U.S. Army Black Hawk helicopters assigned to Joint Task Force-Bravo here are deploying to Nicaragua in support of the hospital ship USNS Comfort's humanitarian and civic assistance mission, Continuing Promise 2009.
The mission of the Joint Task Force-Bravo helicopters will be to transport patients, some from remote areas, to sites in the vicinity of Corinto to receive free medical care and surgical screenings from Comfort's medical personnel. The helicopters are scheduled to remain in Nicaragua for the duration of the two-week mission.
As part of the Continuing Promise mission, Comfort is bringing medical and dental care and community improvement projects to seven Caribbean, Central and South American nations during the four-month deployment. The ship is currently in El Salvador and is expected to arrive in the Nicaraguan port town of Corinto July 3 for the final stop of the deployment.
To date, the Continuing Promise teams have treated nearly 70,000 patients, provided health care education to thousands of people and immunized thousands of animals.
"Joint Task Force-Bravo is proud to be a part of this important humanitarian mission that brings medical help to those in need and reinforces our lasting commitment to our partner nations," said Army Col. Richard A. Juergens, Joint Task Force-Bravo commander.
USNS Comfort departed Norfolk, Va., April 1, beginning a four-month deployment to Antigua, Colombia, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Haiti, Panama and Nicaragua.
Comfort is operated and navigated by a crew of about 70 civil service mariners from the U.S. Navy's Military Sealift Command.
The embarked medical/dental/veterinary crew includes about 650 medical professionals from the U.S. Navy, U.S. Army U.S. Air Force, U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Public Health Service, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and other international partners. Medical professionals from Antigua, Canada, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, France, Panama, the Netherlands, and Nicaragua have also contributed their expertise.