Continuing Promise 2018

Continuing Promise was a training mission to help strengthen regional partnerships while improving the lives of thousands of people in Honduras and Guatemala. From March – May 2018, U.S. military medical personnel were transported to each nation by USNS Spearhead (T-EPF 1) to work with host nation counterparts and aid workers to provide medical and dental care, preventive medicine, and veterinary consulting.

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Continuing Promise is a U.S. Southern Command training mission introduced in 2007. During the 2018 mission, Continuing Promise personnel provided medical, environmental health, veterinary, and humanitarian assistance activities in select countries to strengthen partnerships and improve cooperation on many levels with partner nations, interagency organizations, and nongovernmental organizations.

Building on relationships created in previous years, participants worked together to increase the medical capacities of countries and communities, making each visit an exchange of information and chance to strengthen partnerships.

The purpose of Continuing Promise is to conduct civil-military operations including humanitarian civil assistance, medical, dental, veterinary, and disaster response with partner nations and to show U.S. support and commitment to Central America, South America and the Caribbean.

Capt. Angel Cruz, Commander, Destroyer Squadron 40, was designated Commander, Task Force 48 for the Continuing Promise mission. Capt. Judy Schauer was the medical site officer in charge. The ship’s civil service master, Capt. Douglas Casavant was responsible for the ship’s safe and timely navigation and day-to-day operations.

About USNS Spearhead

USNS Spearhead is a U.S. Navy ship expeditionary fast transport ship operated by Military Sealift Command. This is the second time USNS Spearhead has participated in Continuing Promise.

Medical | Dental | Veterinary Services Provided

The medical, dental, veterinary and civic action programs were designed to assist each participating host nation in providing local communities with a wide range of health services. The primary focus was treatment ashore. Patients did not receive medical care aboard the ship. Medical, veterinary and dental teams went ashore at each location to provide a variety of medical, veterinary and dental services, including:

  • Basic medical evaluation and treatment
  • Preventive medicine treatment
  • Dental screenings and treatment
  • Optometry screenings & eyewear distribution
  • Women’s health services
  • Veterinary services
  • Public health training (plus additional specialties as applicable)

Specific plans for each mission stop were created using information gathered during pre-deployment site surveys in which U.S. and partner nation planners collaborate with local professionals to define the needs of their communities. Participants shared best practices with the host nation partners, and worked with local doctors, nurses, and dentists when providing care and specialist training engagements and activities.


This was the ninth Continuing Promise deployment to the region since 2007.

Continuing Promise started with the deployment of USNS Comfort (T-AH 20) in 2007. CP-18 will build on the strong relationships developed during the CP-07, CP-08 Pacific and Caribbean phases (USS Boxer and USS Kearsarge), CP-09 (Comfort),  CP-10 (USS Iwo Jima), CP-11 (Comfort), CP-15 (Comfort), and CP-17 (USNS Spearhead (T-EPF 1)) deployments to countries in Central and South America and the Caribbean.