NEWS | May 25, 2021

RS-21 concludes in El Salvador for JTF-B medical personnel

By Tech. Sgt. Marleah Cabano Joint Task Force-Bravo, Public Affairs

U.S. service members with Joint Task Force-Bravo (JTF-B), Soto Cano Air Base, Honduras, concluded Resolute Sentinel 2021, a two-week long medical readiness exercise, May 22.

Approximately 65 service members deployed to El Salvador to provide joint training and improved readiness of U.S. and partner nation civil engineers, medical professionals and support personnel through humanitarian assistance activities.

“Resolute Sentinel is an exercise sponsored by [Air Forces Southern] that is to basically help us practice response to a natural disaster in the Central American area,” said U.S. Army Sgt. Ammon Bemis, a medical planner with the Medical Element, JTF-B. “Resolute Sentinel consists of a medical readiness training exercise component, a surgical readiness training exercise and then there is a veterinary readiness training exercise.”

At the end of Resolute Sentinel 21, JTF-B medical personnel treated 2,469 Salvadoran patients at La Unión, Zacatillo Island, Conchagüita Island, Meanguera Island, Mogotillo and El Jaguey.

“We go out and provide medical care,” said U.S. Army 1st Lt. Casey Burns, a medical planner with the Medical Element, JTF-B. “The doctors go out, the nurses go out, we have dentistry and pharmacy, and we will also provide preventive medicine. Essentially, it's making sure that they have the level of care that they need out here.”

Salvadorans weren’t the only ones to receive medical treatment. During the last week of the exercise, U.S. Army veterinary services with JTF-B treated 469 cattle during the veterinary medical readiness training in Tamarindo and El Jaguey.

“We provided anthrax vaccine to the cattle, which is a disease of human and animal health concern,” said U.S. Army Maj. Jeffrey Baravik, the officer-in-charge of veterinary service with Joint Task Force-Bravo, Soto Cano Air Base, Honduras. “We also provided pasteurella and blackleg which are cattle diseases of economic concern. Then we dewormed them for internal and external parasites, and we also provided them with a vitamin A, E and D injection to help with their weight gain and feed conversion.”

With healthier cattle, members with JTF-B veterinary services are giving Salvadorans a chance to improve their lives.

“The exercise, Resolute Sentinel, is to increase interoperability between us and our security partners, while providing some real-world benefits to the citizens of El Salvador,” said Baravik. “Livestock are very important to the citizens of El Salvador for their livelihood and feeding their families, so they see a great economic benefit to have their cattle vaccinated and made healthier to be more productive.”

Resolute Sentinel 21 is a multinational-training opportunity with real-world benefits to U.S. and partner nation personnel and the people of El Salvador by promoting readiness and building long-term partnerships in the region.

“We have been able to build partnerships and build unity through our efforts with the local community,” said Bemis. “By providing medical care and by providing assets for people that are sometimes unable to get them, lets them know that we are available, and they are all very eager to join forces with us in the future with future efforts.”

This exercise is a new AFSOUTH-led, U.S. Southern Command (USSOUTHCOM) exercise that evolved out of the longstanding New Horizons annual joint humanitarian assistance exercise in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Resolute Sentinel also took place in Guatemala and Honduras, the Northern Triangle of Central America, to integrate interoperability and disaster response training in addition to medical aid and construction projects.

“The opportunity to participate in Resolute Sentinel ensures we are ready together for humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations,” said U.S. Army Col. John Litchfield, commander of JTF-B. “We are enduring, reliable partners for safety, security and prosperity in the region.”

Through coordination between USSOUTHCOM, the U.S. Department of State and partner nation governments, a prioritized list of projects were selected based on training objectives to determine those that provide the greatest training benefit while also meeting the medical needs of the host nations.

“In an effort with the local host nation we have been able to partner up with over 120 local volunteers through the individual sites, the ministry of health, the ministry of agriculture and the ministry of education,” said Bemis. “We would love to say ‘thank you’ to all of our partners and we are very happy to have their help - without them, all this effort would not have been as great of a success as it was.”