Continuing Promise 2017 Arrives in Guatemala, Makes Mission's First Stop

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Shamira Purifoy Continuing Promise 2017 Public Affairs


PUERTO BARRIOS, Guatemala (NNS) -- Continuing Promise 2017 (CP-17) arrived in Puerto Barrios, Guatemala, Jan. 30, for its first stop on its three-month humanitarian mission.

The CP-17 joint-military team which includes 169 Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps service members will provide veterinary, dental, and medical services to local communities for the next two weeks. Roughly 80 medical personnel from various disciplines of medicine will deliver preventative treatments, optometry screenings, and women's health services to host nation citizens while working alongside partner nation and civilian experts.

After attending multiple training sessions at Naval Station Mayport, Florida, the CP-17 medical component is ready to serve the people of Guatemala, said Cmdr. Mike Arnold, CP-17's senior medical officer attached to Naval Hospital Jacksonville, Florida.

"The medical team has our first opportunity to provide compassionate care to a number of deserving patients," said Arnold. "We are excited and humbled by our mission."

The 19-member dental team of CP-17 expects to aid an average of 70 patients per day in Puerto Barrios. They also anticipate the opportunity to share best practices with host nation partners, work with local dentists, and have specialists' training engagements and activities.

"While in country, we will be doing subject matter exchanges with healthcare members, ideally at the dental site," said Cmdr. Amy Lynn Bryer, CP-17's lead dentist attached to Naval Medical Center Portsmouth, Virginia. "We will be doing fillings; cleaning teeth; performing various exams, including radiographs; and pulling teeth."

Bryer said her participation in past humanitarian missions helped her prepare for CP-17.

"My travels, including my participation in Pacific Partnership 2013, taught me that people really just want to be heard, respected, and loved no matter where they are from or what language they speak," she said.

One member of the dental team expressed gratitude for the opportunity to help others.

"I am excited and take pride that I was chosen to further the mission," said Hospitalman Billy Gibson, a prophylaxis technician attached to Naval Hospital Pensacola, Florida. "The first thing people notice about you is your smile, and I look forward to helping people regain their confidence."

The mission is scheduled to make stops in Honduras and Colombia after Guatemala.

CP-17 is a U.S. Southern Command-sponsored and U.S. Naval Forces Southern/U.S. 4th Fleet-conducted deployment to conduct civil-military operations including humanitarian assistance, training engagements and medical, dental, and veterinary support in an effort to show U.S. support and commitment to Central and South America.

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For more news from Continuing Promise, visit http://www.navy.mil/local/cp/.