U.S. military personnel deployed to Honduras, Guatemala, and Peru to conduct comprehensive humanitarian civic assistance exercises from April through September 2012. As part of the Beyond the Horizon & New Horizons exercise programs, troops specializing in engineering, construction and health care provided needed services to communities while receiving valuable deployment training and building important relationships with partner nations.
U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Kelly Cotton, left, checks the vital signs of a Peruvian patient at a mobile field hospital in Huancavelica, Peru, July 2, 2012, during New Horizons 2012. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Michael C. Zimmerman/Released)
Beyond the Horizon and New Horizons are U.S. Southern Command-sponsored, joint foreign military interaction/humanitarian exercises. During the exercises, U.S. troops work with a variety of governmental and non-governmental agencies to train in civil-military operations skill sets while providing medical and dental care and engineering support to local populations. The exercises are planned and coordinated closely with multiple agencies and host nation governments to creatively address the level and scope of medical care and engineering assistance required.
Deploying U.S. personnel
Hundreds of U.S. service members, representing National Guard and Reserve forces from all services were in Honduras, Guatemala and Peru at any one time during each exercise. The vast majority of personnel deployed for short periods of time, not including long-term staff.
The make-up of the forces was primarily U.S. military engineers and medical professionals.
Beyond the Horizon and New Horizons require units to carefully plan and conduct logistical operations to support these deployments to remote regions. Such mobilization and real-world execution provides unparalleled training that cannot be simulated in the United States.
Humanitarian services provided
CONSTRUCTION/CIVIC ACTION: The civic action programs are designed to assist in providing local communities with a wide range of construction capabilities and include building repairs and improvements, new small construction projects, utility system repairs, construction and technical assistance.
MEDICAL: U.S. military health care professionals conducted Medical Readiness Training Exercises (MEDRETEs) in each country, working with host nation medical personnel to provide general and specialized medical and dental services to thousands of citizens requiring care. These services included public health and preventive medicine, dental care, adult and pediatric medicine, medical education, immunizations, and nutritional counseling.
The exercises also included veterinarian care, a vital service that ensures the health of valuable food sources and helps prevent diseases that could be passed from animals and livestock to a population.
The training events enhanced the medical readiness training of U.S. forces as well as provided sustained health benefit to the population. Additionally, the relationships forged during these exercises can be called upon in the event of a regional situation that requires a cooperative response.
Beyond the Horizon is a joint foreign military interaction/humanitarian exercise. Begun in 2008, Beyond the Horizon continues U.S. Southern Command’s proud legacy of humanitarian civic assistance exercise programs in the region.
Beyond the Horizon is a concept that integrates several U.S. Army South (ARSOUTH) events under one umbrella thereby making best use of resources. The Texas-based ARSOUTH is the coordinating authority for the planning and execution of this exercise, which is sponsored by U.S. Southern Command. The governments of each participating nation, the U.S. Department of State, and Department of Defense have carefully evaluated and approved these exercises.
New Horizons is an annual series of joint and combined humanitarian assistance exercises that U.S. Southern Command conducts in Latin American and Caribbean nations. Since New Horizons began in the mid-1980s, U.S. troops have deployed annually for the exercise.