Continuing Promise was a U.S. Southern Command training mission introduced in 2007. During the 2017 mission, Continuing Promise personnel conducted civil-military operations including humanitarian-civic assistance activities comprised of medical, dental, and veterinary support, as well as disaster response training to show U.S. commitment to Central and South American partner nations.
This 2017 deployment also improved the collective capacity to respond in support of humanitarian assistance and disaster relief efforts in the region and helped prepare USNS Spearhead to serve as a response platform anywhere in the world.
Capt. Errin Armstrong, Commander, Destroyer Squadron 40, was the Mission Commander, Commander Task Force 48 (CTF 48). Lt. Cmdr. Robert Lennon was the medical officer-in-charge. The ship’s Civil Service Master, Capt. Douglas Casavant, was responsible for the ship’s safe and timely navigation and day-to-day operations.
About USNS Spearhead
USNS Spearhead is an expeditionary fast transport ship, a U.S. Navy vessel operated by Military Sealift Command. It is a unique, highly flexible platform that can provide expeditious movement of personnel and equipment ashore to conduct humanitarian and civil assistance operations quickly and efficiently. This was the first year that Spearhead was the deploying platform for Continuing Promise.
Medical | Dental | Veterinary Services Provided
The medical, dental, veterinary and civic action programs were designed to assist each participating host nation in providing local communities with a wide range of health services. The primary focus was treatment ashore. Patients did not receive medical care aboard the ship. Medical, veterinary and dental teams went ashore at each location to provide a variety of medical, veterinary and dental services.
An estimated 15,000 people were provided services that included:
- Basic medical evaluation and treatment
- Preventive medicine treatment
- Dental screenings and treatment
- Optometry screenings & eyewear distribution
- Women’s health services
- Veterinary services
- Public health training (plus additional specialties as applicable)
Supporting U.S. Military Commands
Participating units included a detachment of Seabees from Construction Battalion Maintenance Unit 202 (CBMU 202), to provide civic assistance as well as personnel from Destroyer Squadron 40 (DESRON 40); Navy Public Affairs Support Element (NPASE); Navy Expeditionary Combat Command (NECC); Combat Camera Detachment (NECC DET COMCAM); U.S. Fleet Forces Band; Joint Enabling Capabilities Command (JECC) and Joint Communications Support Element (JCSE), part of U. S. Transportation Command (USTRANSCOM); Region Legal Service Office Southeast; U.S. Army Public Health; Navy Environmental Preventive Medicine Unit Two (NEPMU 2).
This was the eighth Continuing Promise deployment to the region since 2007.