U.S., Honduras mark end of Beyond the Horizon Honduras with closing ceremony
June 28, 2012
NACO, Honduras -- Service members from the U.S. and Honduras joined together June 26 at Forward Operating Base, Naco, Honduras, for the closing ceremony for Beyond the Horizon Honduras 2012.
BTH Honduras 2012 is an Army South-led exercise deploying military engineers and medical professionals to Honduras for training, while providing services to rural communities. BTH is part of U.S. Southern Command's annual humanitarian and civic assistance program.
Working closely with host nation forces and civilian organizations, BTH teams participated in a valuable training opportunity and provided medical, dental and engineering support to the people of Honduras.
Maj. Gen. Simeon G. Trombitas, the U.S. Army South commanding general, joined Roberto Funes Ponce, the Honduran vice minister of defense, Honduran Gen. Rene Arnoldo Osorio Canales, the Honduran commanding general of the armed forces, and several others to mark the end of the four-and-a-half month long project and to recognize deserving soldiers from both nations' armies.
During BTH Honduras, there was a daily average of approximately 250 U.S. military personnel participating, totaling more than 1,000 overall.
In cooperation with the government of Honduras, medical professionals from the U.S. provided general health care near San Pedro Sula, Honduras, and surrounding towns and villages.
Two new schools and clinics were constructed, as well as one school renovation, while more than 18,509 patients were provided with medical care and veterinarians treated more than 7,000 animals.
The U.S. and Honduran military have a long-standing relationship. Army South, working with SOUTHCOM, other military services and partner nations, will continue to build strong partnerships in the region by engaging with allies, building partner nation capacity and providing humanitarian assistance.
"Beyond the Horizon represents a very important chance for every member nation participating to improve their professional capacity," said Ponce. "We hope to continue this relationship for the better of all. What we have is an unconditional alliance where one just has to extend a hand and the other will help."
Maj. Jeffery Lopez, the Army South Central American desk officer, agreed the BTH Honduras offered a valuable opportunity to work side-by-side with the Honduran armed forces.
"This exercise gives our service members the chance to develop professional, working relationships with the Honduran troops," said Lopez. "By developing and fostering those relationships while providing invaluable aide to the people of Honduras, we will be better equipped to work together in the future."
For Trombitas, the ceremony offered him a chance to view first-hand the accomplishments of the U.S. troops deployed to BTH Honduras. He wasted no time in recognizing their efforts.
"To the members of Task Force Tropic, I want to say, job well done," Trombitas said. "The time you spent away from your families and civilian jobs was for a great cause. You've shown how the Army values of loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity and personal courage are put to use in everyday situations."
As of the closing ceremony, the service members of BTH, in cooperation with their host nation partners, completed construction projects on 10 different sites to include building new medical clinics in Centro Salud Flores de Oriente, Honduras, and Centro Salud Quimistan. In addition, BTH service members also constructed two new two-room schools in local villages.
The medical teams that participated in BTH were responsible for conducting two medical readiness exercises (MEDRETE) and one dental readiness exercise (DENTRETE).
In San Juan del Sitio, BTH medical professionals treated more than 5,200 patients in a two-week span. At the San Marcos and Petoa MEDRETE, approximately 6,000 patients were seen in two weeks.
The DENTRETE, being held on FOB Naco, is expected to treat 1,000 Hondurans for anything from minor problems to tooth extractions.
Trombitas left BTH impressed with both the work ethic and results displayed by the members of BTH Honduras.
"Their sacrifices have left a lasting impression on the people of Honduras, United States Southern Command and U.S. Army South. They are the best our nation has to offer."
Although the closing ceremony has already concluded, the Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen of BTH Honduras will continue working until early July putting the finishing touches on their construction projects and completing the DENTRETE.