JACMEL, Haiti (Sept 24, 2009) - U.S. Army Soldiers from throughout the United States came together under the direction of U.S. Army South to treat more than 7,200 patients during a medical readiness and training exercise here Sept. 8-23.

At the request of the government of Haiti, U.S. Army South, along with U.S. Army Reserve North East - Medical Area Readiness Support Group, from New York, and the 413th Civil Affairs Battalion from Texas, conducted various medical and dental action programs providing focused humanitarian assistance. There are a variety of medical conditions and concerns that are common to the regions. These missions help to share best-practices for the most effective, economical treatments that can be made available by regional medical teams.

Since Sept 8, the U.S. Army has worked closely with the Haitian Ministry of Health and local authorities to provide various medical, vision, preventive medicine and dental action programs to support Haiti's efforts to help the people of the region. More than 30 doctors, dentists, ophthalmologists and other medical professionals provided assistance to at Marigot's Ecolge Nationiale de Marigot and Cayes-Jacmel's Medical Clinic.

"We are working with Haiti on long-term economic growth and job creation," said Kenneth Merten, U.S. Ambassador to Haiti. "People's immediate needs are also extremely important. Americans care deeply about the people of Haiti, and this mission -- people helping people directly -- is a demonstration of the friendship between our two countries."

Overall, the members of the medical readiness and training team provided surgical and medical assistance to over 7,200 Haitians. Dental and optometry exams were provided to more than 2,600 patients, with more than 600 pairs of glasses dispensed.

"We wish to thank the Haitian Government, especially the Ministry of Health, for its collaboration, and also the communities of Marigot and Cayes-Jacmel who welcomed us," said Col. Donna Hershey, commander of the medical training and readiness mission. "It has been a very successful mission and one that our Soldiers will remember for a lifetime."

In addition to providing humanitarian assistance, this medical training and readiness exercise also provided valuable experiences to learn from the Haitian and civilian experts. This experience helps to enhance the rapid response capabilities by all branches of the U.S. military. The relationships built and sustained with our partners in Haiti through exercises and professional and military exchanges help tremendously in humanitarian efforts, preserving peace and stability in the region.

(Contributions by Maj. Gerard Heck, 413th Civil Affairs Battalion)