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NEWS | Jan. 18, 2022

U.S. military wraps up disaster relief exercise in Belize

By Public Affairs Office Joint Task Force-Bravo

Joint Task Force-Bravo conducted a humanitarian assistance and disaster relief exercise at Price Barracks in Ladyville, Belize, from Jan. 7-18, 2022. JTF-Bravo is an expeditionary Joint Task Force operating as U.S. Southern Command's lead forward element in the Central America region and is based out of Soto Cano Air Base, Honduras.

The exercise, designated as “Keel-Billed Toucan” (KBT), validated the task force’s ability to mobilize personnel, assets and supplies safely and quickly utilizing strict COVID-19 protocols in order to assist regional partners in the event of a natural disaster. 

KBT also enabled immediate real-world benefits for Belize. U.S. military medical professionals with the task force’s Medical Detachment conducted a Global Health Engagement to provide primary care, preventative medicine, dental and pharmacy services in Jalacte and San Pedro Columbia, Belize. More than 775 local citizens were aided by JTF-Bravo, working side by side with the Belizean Ministry of Health and Wellness.

The exercise was designed to transport equipment and personnel as well as test the capability to self-deploy within the unit's area of operations. Using organic assets to rapidly coordinate and conduct a simulated disaster response, the task force worked in partnership with the U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance to quickly and effectively relieve suffering described in the scenario. There were also opportunities for subject matter expert exchanges between U.S. service members and the Belize Defense Force and Emergency Services.

“KBT was a success for us, and it’s thanks to our Belizean partners that we are now better prepared to assist in the event of an emergency across Central America,” said Col. Steve Gventer, JTF-Bravo commander. “We thank Belize for its gracious hospitality, and we look forward to our continued partnership and a joint KBT in the future.”

As trusted partners to Central America, both JTF-Bravo and USSOUTHCOM are committed to supporting regional partners when help is needed during a disaster.

To read the full story, visit https://go.usa.gov/xtBC9 .