SOTO CANO AIR BASE, HONDURAS – Joint Task Force – Bravo received a unique request during U.S. Southern Command’s Health Engagements Assistance Response Team HEART 2022 mission to work alongside partner nation medical professionals to provide surgical and medical services to communities in Guatemala and Honduras.
The request was to come to Olancho, Honduras to perform similar medical services provided during HEART 22 at a smaller scale. The last time JTF-Bravo was able to come to Olancho, Honduras was in 2017.
After careful planning and coordination with local partners Ciudad Mujer and Copeco, our team conducted a weeklong medical engagement from 9 - 12 Jan 2023.
“The goal of our visit was to provide real, tangible assistance to local communities that are in need of healthcare assistance,” said U.S. Army COL Phillip Brown, commander of Joint Task Force – Bravo. “The success of this mission came from our service members executing this mission with precision and excellence, partnered with our Honduran teammates at every phase.”
To have a lasting impact, a medical site was opened in Jutiquile, Olancho for two days and another site in Mamisaca, Olancho for one day. As the two medical sites remained operational for the week, a surgical team conducted hernia removal surgeries in the San Francisco Hospital in Juticalpa for four days.
JTF-Bravo’s Medical Detachment provided multiple services to increase the quality of life to those who visited our medical sites including an on-site pharmacy to receive vital medicines and vitamins. Other services provided were dentistry to do dental checks and tooth extractions, psychological services for those in need and a preventative medical team to test local water supplies and catching insects to check for infectious diseases.
With partners Ciudad Mujer, a section dedicated to USSOUTHCOM Women Peace and Security initiative was available. This initiative recognizes the importance of women in our society and the challenges affecting women in society like sexual assault, domestic abuse, and how anyone can help make a difference.
The site garnered local and community attention and were visited by government officials including the governor of Olancho and the Honduran Minister of Defense Jose Manuel Zelaya Roasales.
U.S. Army BG Michael Pyle, deputy commander of 807th Deployment Support, and COL Phillip Brown, Joint Task Force Bravo commander, accompanied and spoke on the importance of maintaining the enduring partnership between Honduras and the United States and visit the site to see what our service members in action.
“It’s amazing to see our soldiers working with the Honduran military and government for the betterment of Honduras,” said BG Michael Pyle, “At the medical engagement I visited today, I saw an emphasis on the Women Peace and Security Initiative and the ability to work with local organizations to further that cause.”
While our service members operated this week some site visitors in Mamisaca shared that at times people are required to walk an hour to get basic medical services.
Local community members were thankful for the care they received and expressed gratitude to service members and local organizations for providing needed care.
As SOUTHCOM’s forward deployed Joint Task Force, JTF-Bravo has worked with allies and partners in the region to create new partnerships and seek every opportunity to provide rapid support and humanitarian service for almost 40 years. By collaborating for medical engagements, JTF-Bravo strengthens relationships and supports the well-being of communities together.