SOTO CANO AIR BASE, Honduras - , –
A delegation consisting of Congressman Austin Scott, representing Georgia's 8th District, Congressman Marc Veasey, representing Texas' 33rd District, and Ambassador James Nealon, U.S. Ambassador to Honduras, visited Soto Cano Air Base May 04, 2015, to learn about Joint Task Force-Bravo's support to the broader U.S. and partner nation stabilization efforts in Central America.
Their tour consisted of a full-spectrum look at the Task Force's ability to operate in austere environments, to include providing safe drinking water, field communications, medical services and helicopter transport.
The delegation also observed Joint Security Force's K-9 capability, along with the 612th Airbase Squadron's air traffic control tower, where they learned about the U.S.'s only strategic airfield in Central America, capable of landing C-5 Galaxy cargo planes under all weather conditions, day and night.
Both members of the House Armed Services Committee, the congressmen arrived with certain issues in mind.
"My concerns are primarily in two areas," Scott said. "One would be drug trafficking and the damage that that does to Americans, and the other is obviously the immigration issue."
Despite the difficult social and political challenges these issues present on an international scale, Scott spoke hopefully about the collaboration he saw during his trip.
"I think the commitment down here from this government to work with our government to stop both of those issues is very encouraging," Scott said, stating the need for a combined effort from the U.S. and its Central American partners to combat these issues.
Veasey concurred, noting the collaboration he witnessed even at Soto Cano.
"We've had a great trip. It was great to see how the civilian personnel and military personnel are working together, across country lines, to stop things that are a mutual problem, especially the drug trafficking," he said.
When asked about the U.S.'s commitment to Central America, Veasey had this to say:
"I think the U.S. commitment to Central America is crucially important. When you think about the close proximity of Central America to the United States...we want a strong Central America. We want a safe Central America, somewhere where the citizens here and in other places feel like it's a safe place to live, a place they can raise their family, be prosperous, have a good job," he said.
"It's in the best interest of the U.S. that we do everything that we can to get the situation here stable, so we'll have a great, world-class neighbor," Veasey said.