NEWS | Sept. 27, 2008

U.S. Embassy officials, JTF-Bravo, partner with Costa Rica to provide medical support

By Staff Sgt. Joel Mease Joint Task Force-Bravo Public Affairs

The U.S. ambassador to Costa Rica visited the medical readiness exercise sites in two villages Sept. 26, to see the joint efforts provided by U.S. servicemembers and the Costa Rican government.

Ambassador Peter Cianchette saw combined efforts in La Pena and Carona by Joint Task Force-Bravo and Costa Rica health and safety officials during day two of a three-day MEDRETE, which is estimated to help more than 2,000 people.

While surveying the medical support supplied by the two countries, the ambassador said the cooperation between American countries is important to continue.

"The U.S. has prided itself for years by helping our friends," Ambassador Cianchette said. "This is just another example of how we can assist where needed. We want to continue our involvement where there is a need and we can help the most."

In order for the medical missions to be a success, there was a need for strong support on both sides, said Coast Guard Commander Mark Camacho, U.S. military group commander in Costa Rica.

"It's extremely important for the citizens in Costa Rica to see us working together," Commander Camacho said. "Because there is no military in Costa Rica, it is important for people to see how we can assist them with humanitarian assistance and joint training with the police force in Costa Rica. When we do this they get to see all the good things we can do."

Another factor in the success of the mission was the ability of JTF-Bravo to work with the Costa Rican government in providing the necessary support and supplies for the MEDRETE, Commander Camacho said.

"JTF-Bravo is a team of professionals from the top to the very bottom," Commander Camacho said. "It would be impossible to do what we are doing without the resources JTF-Bravo provided. This partnership between our servicemembers and Costa Rica only strengthens the relationship between our two countries."

The cooperation between the countries was greatly appreciated by the people who participated in the MEDRETES, the ambassador said.

"From my time talking with the people here I can see in their faces the gratitude for what we are doing together," Ambassador Cianchette said. "What we are doing makes me so proud of what our military does with our humanitarian missions."