NEWS | March 8, 2012

JSF, ARFOR interpret during MEDRETE

By Capt. Candice Allen JTF-Bravo Public Affairs

Members from the Joint Security Forces and Army Forces Battalion, Soto Cano Air Base, Honduras, served as interpreters during the medical readiness and training exercise here March 8.

"It was a good experience, you're engaged in the mission," said Navy Logistics Specialist 2nd Class Petty Officer Claudia Salas, an ARFOR member who served as an interpreter. "I learned a lot about the people here and what they're going through."

The Joint Task Force-Bravo medical team, along with Mission Honduras LeMars, the Honduran military, South Dakota State University nutritional team and Honduran Ministry of Health, saw more than 280 patients on day two of the four-day MEDRETE.

The medical professionals treated illnesses including respiratory infections, skin infections, pneumonia, tuberculosis, diabetes and high blood pressure.

"Interpreters are people you can never have enough of here," Capt. Virginia Aguilar, the lead operations planner for this MEDRETE, said. "It helps us maximize our capabilities, without ARFOR and JSF we would be operating at 50 percent capacity."

In addition to interpreting, JSF members kept their first priority in mind - security.
"You feel good, because you are helping and at the same time providing security for MEDEL," said Army Sgt. Cydmarie Soto, a JSF member.

The MEDRETE team wrapped up two days of medical services in La Ceiba and will provide the same assistance in the village of San Juan March 9 and 10.

The professional exchange between U.S. and Honduran doctors and nurses will allow for improved patient treatment and enhance the U.S., Honduran partnership.

In 2011, JTF-Bravo and Honduran Ministry of Health clinicians provided general medical care to 14,401 patients and dental care to 1,061 patients for a total of 15,462 local Hondurans receiving much-needed assistance.