From April through June 2014, U.S. military personnel deployed to Belize, Dominican Republic and Guatemala to conduct comprehensive humanitarian and civic assistance exercises. 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.
Beyond the Horizon and New Horizons are U.S. Southern Command-sponsored, joint foreign military interaction/humanitarian exercises. During the exercises, U.S. troops worked 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 were 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.
U.S. Army South was the executive agent for the two Beyond the Horizon exercises in the Dominican Republic and Guatemala. The New Horizons exercise in Belize was led by U.S. Air Forces Southern.
Deploying U.S. Personnel
Hundreds of U.S. service members, representing National Guard, Active and Reserve forces from all services were in Belize, Dominican Republic and Guatemala 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.
Construction / Civic Action Services Provided
U.S. forces constructed five new classrooms and renovations to help ease school overcrowding. U.S. forces also expanded the Western Regional Hospital in Belmopan, adding a new acute mental health unit. Medical forces also provided general, dental and urology services for more than 8,000 Belizeans during Medical Readiness Training Exercises. U.S. medical forces provided care alongside the Belizean Defense Forces and Ministry of Health and the Royal Canadian military.
U.S. troops constructed four new classrooms at two schools in Barahona City in remotely located communities. U.S. troops also built the new Clinic Invicea Villa that will serve 1,600 families who currently do not have access to an adequate medical care facility. The Clinic Vicente Noble and Clinic Palo Alto each received a new two-room clinic facility and two-stall latrine. Medical forces also provided general, plastic surgery & ophthalmology care to thousands of Dominicans during Medical Readiness Training Exercises.
U.S. troops constructed seven new classrooms at three schools in Zacapa and Chiquimula departments in remotely located communities. U.S. forces also constructed a three-room clinic in Zacapa to help the Ministry of Health meet increased requirements in the region. Medical teams also conducted three general Medical Readiness Training Exercises with the Guatemalan military and Ministry of Health.
About the Medical Services Provided
U.S. military health care professionals conducted multiple 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 safety 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 and provide sustained health benefits 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. 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.