SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico -- Puerto Rico National Guard Citizen-Soldiers concluded the humanitarian mission "Beyond the Horizon 2018" in the Republic of El Salvador, which started in May.
"It is extraordinary to know that we have been able to contribute to improving the quality of life of our fellow citizens in El Salvador through this mission," said the Adjutant General of Puerto Rico, Brig. Gen. Isabelo Rivera. "This sort of mission provides us with a 'real world' experience to train our personnel in their military specialties, while it helps to build friendships, in this case, with El Salvador. It is this kind of training that allows us to be more effective here in our Island in the aftermath of Hurricanes Irma and Maria."
The PRNG was in charge of the Command and Control operations of Joint Task Force Hope, comprised of more than 1,800 US Service Members and over 200 Salvadorian army personnel, located in the municipality of Zacatecoluca. More than 260 members of the PRNG participated in the operation alongside National Guardsmen and women from 18 states and one territory.
Task Force Hope built two schools and completely overhauled another two. The effort was a morale booster for the community because former structures used as schools were constructed in adobe, which lacked electricity, sanitary services, running water and were completely deteriorated.
The task force also expanded the municipality's medical treatment facility, a place that receives between 250 and 300 patients daily, and conducted five Medical Readiness Exercises in which more than 16,800 patients received medical care in areas of Optometry, Pediatrics, Odontology, Geriatrics, Gynecology, vaccinations and Pharmacy. Additionally, the Service Members coordinated the distribution of over $152,000 in donations to the new schools.
"Beyond the Horizon" is a civic-military exercise conducted alongside the host country to provide the construction of medical-educational facilities while conducting medical exercises that benefit the selected communities. This exercises also gives the opportunity of real training for the US Armed Forces components, to include the National Guard, and the military and civilian components of the host country, while providing an enhancement in the infrastructure and quality of life for the civilian population.
The "Beyond the Horizon" exercise has been conducted in El Salvador since 1993 when it was known as "Strong Paths," and has positively impacted thousands throughout the years.