By USAF Tech. Sgt. William Farrow and 1st Lt. Erika YepsenApril 14, 2008
SOTO CANO AIR BASE, Honduras - A U.S. Army South exercise in Honduras is testing Joint Task Force-Bravo's ability to support forward deployed troops over three months as U.S. military personnel on Soto Cano Air Base nearly double.
A Honduran base and home to the Honduran air force academy, Soto Cano Air Base is also home to the 500 U.S. Army, Air Force and Navy personnel who make up JTF-Bravo, and has opened its gates to more than 300 Beyond the Horizon personnel.
"Beyond the Horizon is a multi-national, joint-force exercise in which U.S. military personnel will conduct various engineering projects and medical readiness exercises for the benefit of the local population in Honduras," said exercise spokesman Army Staff Sgt. Danny McCormick. "From April until June we will renovate three schools and construct two new schools, four lavatories, four water towers and one storage shed in addition to conducting various MEDRETEs."
Throughout the exercise, nearly 2,100 people will cycle through Soto Cano Air Base, requiring a vast array of support from almost every unit that makes up JTF-Bravo, ranging from tents they live in to the food they eat.
"One of our primary capabilities is to support forward deployed forces during a contingency in Central America," said Army Col. Marcus DeOliveira, JTF-Bravo commander. "BTH is an excellent way to test that capability, and the men and women of JTF-Bravo have risen to the challenge."
According to Air Force Capt. Kenya Colon, logistics deputy director, some of the tasks JTF-Bravo has performed to date include coordinating customs clearance for BTH materials and equipment arriving in country; line-hauling 50 vehicles and nearly 140 pieces of equipment; issuing more than 6,600 Meals Ready to Eat and 9,500 bottles of water; and providing more than 8,000 gallons of fuel for BTH activities.
The logistics office is only one piece of the support required for BTH's success. The base engineering office is also providing a variety of support for BTH, from constructing the "tent city" in which the BTH personnel are living to providing showers and laundry facilities.
"Our support activities, which include sanitation, ground works and any other infrastructure-related concerns, will continue through the duration of the exercise," said Air Force 1st Lt. Tim Brodman, the engineering section chief.
Procuring supplies for the various BTH medical teams has also tested the JTF-Bravo Medical Element's support abilities, as MEDEL ordered, stored and distributed the vast majority of the supplies the visiting BTH medical corps needs to perform MEDRETEs throughout the region, said Air Force 1st Lt. Joel Richardson, medical logistics officer.
"We also function as their logistical reach-back capability during their time in the field," said Lieutenant Richardson. "If anything goes wrong with their supplies, we assist them as much as possible."
"JTF-Bravo is key to the success of BTH," said Maj. Lyndon Jones, BTH Information Operations officer. "While BTH personnel are out in the community working with Hondurans to improve services in the community, they can focus on the task at hand knowing that JTF-Bravo will make sure they have a place to shower, eat and sleep when the job is done."