NEWS | March 8, 2012

Soldier, Airman provide communication during MEDRETE

By Capt. Candice Allen JTF-Bravo Public Affairs

Two servicemembers, who are assigned to Army Forces Battalion, Joint Task Force-Bravo, Soto Cano Air Base, Honduras, provide communications during the medical readiness and training exercise in the village here March 7.

Army Sgt. John Simon, ARFOR S-6 NCOIC, and Air Force Staff Sgt. Sharon Siciliano, ARFOR data NCO, disseminated radios as well as established internet connectivity enabling members on the MEDERETE team the ability to communicate within the team and back to Soto Cano.

The team saw more than 350 people on the first day of the MEDRETE. The medical professionals treated illnesses including respiratory infections, skin infections, pneumonia, tuberculosis, diabetes and high blood pressure.

"Yesterday, we charged the radios and phones so the nutritional survey team could relay information [while in the surrounding areas] back to the MEDRETE team here," said Siciliano, who is a RF transmission systems instructor from Kessler Air Force Base, Miss. "We are constantly communicating with JTF-Bravo informing them of how many people left with the nutritional survey team, what time they left and when they have returned,"

"Also we help public affairs get their story and photos out while on a MEDRETE," she said.

Before the MEDRETE team traveled to La Ceiba yesterday, Simon and Siciliano strapped an antenna to the roof of one of the HUMMVEEs.

"We strapped an antenna to the roof for satellite communication while transiting to the site," Simon, who is a Detroit native assigned to Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, said. "We wanted to ensure we could talk to JTF-Bravo while on the road."

What Simon and Siciliano do here during the MEDRETE is what would do during a disaster-relief response.

"I'm a member on the Central American Assessment Team at Soto Cano," Sicilian said. "We would provide internet and radio connectivity within the team and run the communication's portion for the Pre-Expeditionary Assistance Kit."

The MEDRETE team will continue providing medical services in the village of La Ceiba March 8.

The professional exchange between U.S. and Honduran doctors and nurses will allow 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.