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Beyond the Horizon 2019 Kicks Off With Opening Ceremony in Guatemala

By Staff Sgt. William Gillespie, 319th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

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HUEHUETENANGO, Guatemala – In a joint, multi-national opening ceremony, Beyond the Horizon 2019 officially kicked off here with the Guatemalan 5th Infantry Brigade and U.S. Forces May 13, 2019.

The opening ceremony included drill and ceremony that included both U.S. Army and Guatemalan 5th Infantry Brigade Soldiers, with dignitaries in attendance including U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Guatemala Luis E. Arreaga and Guatemalan Minister of National Defense Maj. Gen. Luis Miguel Ralda Moreno. 

Beyond the Horizon is an annual U.S. Army South–led exercise that combines medical, dental, veterinary and engineering missions to improve the operational readiness of U.S. Forces, reinforce region stability and interoperability with ally forces, which also results in benefits to the people of Guatemala.

“Today, we discussed how we are going to enable and benefit the communities of Huehuetenango through construction of schools, clinic and provide medical services,” said Lt. Col. Greg Sawmelle, 365th Engineer Battalion commander. “(The exercise) helps us to develop our readiness.”

For the communities, it gives them facilities and services that help them and their children to improve their health and welfare, he said. 

The Beyond the Horizon exercise brought military engineers and medical professional from around the U.S. to Guatemala for training, while working alongside Guatemalan partners to provide services to rural communities. 

Task Force Rise, comprised of U.S. Army Reserve and National Guard units led by the 365th Eng. Bn., will provide medical readiness training exercises in three areas: San Sebastian and Santa Barbara, Chiantla and Tojocas, and Huehuetenango National Hospital.

“This year, the United States Army South, along with the Armed Forces of Guatemala, will work again to better the living conditions of the Guatemalan people,” said Arreaga in his remarks during the ceremony. “Beyond the Horizon will include multiple engineering projects and medical services events in different communities.”

Soldiers conducting two- and three-week rotations will be employing their specific military skills as engineers, heavy equipment operators, mechanics, medics, civil affairs, public affairs and support personnel. Service members will continue to rotate into Guatemala over the twelve-week exercise. The projects are expected to be completed by the mid-July.

“Essentially to serve is our takeaway from this exercise,” said Sawmelle. “We wear the uniform of the United States to serve others and encapsulate the most important way to be able to partner with the nation strategically, to develop interest here in Guatemala, and to make sure we are able to work together.”

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