NEWS | Nov. 7, 2013

Joint Task Force-Bravo provides medical care to more than 1,200 in Honduras

By U.S. Army Sgt. Courtney Kreft Joint Task Force-Bravo Medical Element

Joint Task Force- Bravo's Medical Element (MEDEL) partnered with the Honduran Ministry of Health and the Honduran military to provide medical care to more than 1,200 people in Plan de Leones and Cuesta de la Virgen, two remote villages in the department of Comayagua, during a Medical Readiness Exercise (MEDRETE) from 4-6 November.

"This exercise offers an opportunity for growth for all involved not just in their medical field, but to learn and train with other medical specialties in the military and the civilian sector," said U.S. Army Captain Andrew Foss, the commander for this mission. "The personnel on these exercises have a unique opportunity to work together and learn from each other whether they are U.S. armed forces, Honduran military, or from the Honduran Ministry of Health."

The JTF-Bravo and the Honduran military worked jointly to provide preventative medicine to more than 1,200 patients, including classes on hygiene, nutrition, and preventative dental care. They also provided dental care, immunizations, wellness checkups, medications, and some minor medical procedures.

"Missions like these give us a chance to test our skills and they allow us to provide medical help to people in areas that might not always have access to a hospital or clinic." said U.S. Air Force Staff Sergeant Clayton Perry, the noncommissioned officer in charge for this MEDRETE. "When women and children wait for up to an hour just to see us, you know you're doing something special and it's great when you see all the different services and civilians coming together to make it happen."

Members of the 228th Combat Support Hospital, San Antonio, Texas, were at Soto Cano for their pre-deployment site survey and were also able to go on the MEDRETE and help their counterparts while receiving a firsthand experience of some of the work they will be doing when they replace the current MEDEL next year.

Joint Task Force-Bravo conducted MEDRETES in all seven Central American countries last year providing health care to more than 11,000 patients. These missions help to support U.S. Southern Command's humanitarian and disaster relief programs in order to strengthen civil-military cooperation between the United States and nations in the region.