By Spc. Hector Rene Membreno-Canales, 326th Mobile Public Affairs DetatchmentJune 7, 2013
SONSONATE, El Salvador - For Soldiers participating in Beyond the Horizon-El Salvador 2013, the sound of a bugle is often heard here.
Those sounds do not come from a loud speaker recording, but rather from the bugle of Salvadoran Army band member, Luis Alfredo Henriquez-Lopez. Henriquez's bugle alerts U.S. service members to various events and times throughout the day from sunrise to sunset seven days a week.
"It's a great pleasure for me to fulfill this role and help keep things on schedule here," said Henriquez. "It affects everyone's desire to do their jobs and helps to motivate them as well."
For centuries the military bugle has stood as a symbol of ceremony and a tool to communicate orders on battlefields, battleships, and military posts. Since biblical times, according to Henriquez, there have always been a trumpet used to signify important events, and it is a Salvadoran tradition to always have a trumpet at the ready.
" I love my job, because it gives me an opportunity to serve my country in a cultural and historical way, but as a soldier first, I am still willing and able to fight for freedom," said Henriquez, who says that he doesn't serve for the money or the retirement but rather love of country.
This dedication to service and country was no more prevalent than in 2007 when Henriquez served in Iraq for a year alongside his U.S. counterparts, where he performed the duties of driver, conducting multiple convoy missions there.
The country of El Salvador has been a key ally to the U.S. in Afghanistan and Iraq. They continue to support the current mission in Afghanistan with a contingent of soldiers who serve alongside other coalition partners there.
He is currently the only Salvadoran musician here at Military District Six to wear a combat patch from that campaign, and he is proud of that honor, as well as the honor to sound the bugle while U.S. Soldiers are here in Sonsonate.
These U.S. troops are currently in El Salvador participating in Beyond the Horizon- El Salvador 2013, a joint foreign military interaction and humanitarian exercise occurring until late June. The U.S. troops have been conducting medical, dental and veterinarian exercises, while the engineers have been hard at work on construction sites throughout the area.
Henriquez also understands the impact of the Beyond the Horizon mission to the people of his beloved country and the relationships that were built during the last few months.
"I recognize that the U.S. has the ability to provide aid to less fortunate nations. The people of El Salvador also appreciate the direct and indirect benefits of joint humanitarian aid missions like this one," said Henriquez. "We are grateful; there are no words to describe the help we receive through the collaborative efforts of our countries."