SONSONATE, El Salvador -- Joint Task Force Jaguar recently tested itself by conducting a mass casualty exercise here as it prepares for Beyond the Horizon 2013 mission.

The mass casualty exercise is designed to simulate the stress caused during a real crisis.

"Exercises like these not only give us hands-on training, but they highlight weak spots and help us maintain proficiency in our strengths," said Staff Sgt. Derek Downey, medical plans non-commissioned officer in charge, JTF-Jaguar. "Today, they were definitely stressed, and this scenario is designed to do just that."

This exercise, however, was just one step in the validation process required for the unit to maintain operations here. Over the course of two days, safety, personnel recovery, and force protection inspectors from Army South evaluated the safety measures and tactics employed by the task force.

The inspectors observed bulk fuel being stored and transported, electrical safety, and how soldiers and airmen are monitored as they travel through El Salvador.

"There are a number of safety aspects that have to be coordinated and we'll work with our command, our staff, and our Salvadoran partners to ensure the necessary safety measures are in place," said Maj. Mark Bianchi, Joint Task Force-Jaguar executive officer. "We brought staff officers and noncommissioned officers to support the mission and they had to work through issues on their own. They did it without hesitation and they're a credit to the task force from all over the country."

To accommodate the task force's population, electrical and communication infrastructure have been updated. Food service, sanitation, and water purification have also been addressed, as well as the transportation and personnel monitoring tactics have been updated.

Key Army South staff reviewed the results of the evaluation and the information was shared with the Task Force Jaguar leadership.

"We are very impressed with the unit's performance here," said Col. James Peterson, director of operational protection, U.S. Army South. "The unit has obviously done a lot of preparation for this mission, and we're very satisfied with the outcomes."

Beyond the Horizon is a U.S. Southern Command-sponsored, U. S. Army South-led, joint-foreign military interaction and humanitarian exercise, which will take place in El Salvador until late June.

Page last updated Mon April 8th, 2013 at 13:08