By 1st Lt. John QuinJuly 6, 2012
NACO, Honduras (Army News Service, July 6, 2012) -- The commander and sergeant major of Task Force Tropic thanked and recognized the accomplishments of their Soldiers in a final formation in here.
Missouri National Guard Lt. Col. Robert Jones, of Cape Girardeau, Mo., and Sgt. Maj. Scott Mayer, of Lee's Summit, presented the Soldiers and Sailors of Task Force Tropic with commander's coins and certificates in recognition of their hard work.
"I've been in the military 37 years, and this was the most challenging and rewarding mission," Jones said. "The challenging part was the planning. The rewarding part was execution. You guys made it easy."
Task Force Tropic was established to support U.S. Army South's Beyond the Horizon-2012 exercise. The exercise gives real-world training to servicemembers through humanitarian aid missions including building schools and clinics, and setting up free medical and dental clinics for local populations. The vast majority of the participants were National Guardsmen or Reservists from 15 states.
In Honduras, Task Force Tropic went above and beyond the four construction projects they were originally tasked with. At last count, the task force's Army engineers and Navy Seabees had taken on 15 construction projects. Task Force members are still going strong, trying to use all the materials they have left to good use.
Meanwhile, doctors, dentists and veterinarians saw thousands of patients. In the towns of San Juan Del Sitio, Correderos and Pinalejo, doctors saw 5,203 patients and performed 5,990 procedures. In San Marcos and Petoa, doctors saw 9,152 patients and performed 24,176 procedures.
During a veterinary exercise in Pinalejo, veterinarians saw 1,372 animals. An additional 1,133 were seen in Petoa.
Currently, Soldiers from the 192nd Dental Area Support Company are seeing more than 100 patients daily at a clinic in Naco Cortez.
Much of the coordination and support for those efforts fell on the shoulders of the duration staff.
"You showed dedication, effort, and responsiveness through the whole operation," Mayer said. "Everyone put forth a major effort and sacrifice. We shouldn't take that for granted."
Before dismissing his Soldiers and Sailors, the leaders had one final message for them.
"I want to thank every one of you for the job you did," Jones said. "You got it done."
(1st Lt. John Quin writes for the 70th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment)