The U.S. Southern Command (USSOUTHCOM) humanitarian mission Continuing Promise 2018 (CP-18) concluded its second mission stop in Puerto Barrios, Guatemala with a closing ceremony at Comando Naval de Carribe Naval Base.
During the 16-day stop to Puerto Barrios, the multi-service team of healthcare professionals completed 8,109 patient encounters, exceeding their goal of 5,000.
The visit also continued to build on U.S.-Guatemala relations and capacities through 110 subject-matter expert exchanges (SMEE); 39 surgeries; 15,555 animal treatments; eight community service projects and 12 band performances.
“Our Continuing Promise team enjoyed working with the Guatemalan people in the fields of medicine, dental, veterinary, disaster relief, humanitarian assistance, and surgical procedures,” said Capt. Angel Cruz, commodore of Destroyer Squadron 40. “We did all of these things together – learning from each other along the way.”
In addition to military medical professionals, U.S. personnel worked alongside various organizations, including Team Rubicon, El Faro, Operation Blessing and Florida International University, while also teaming with the local universities and schools.
“Continuing Promise is a mission where all of us together changed the lives of everyone we came into contact with and in that process our lives were also changed for the better,” Cruz continued. “This mission has resulted in thousands of Guatemalans receiving care, the exchanging of ideas between both our countries’ experts, and a deeper understanding of our friendship. Our common interests and values continue to improve security and stability for our communities. Only together can we create a stable, prosperous hemisphere.”
Many distinguished guests visited the medical site and Expeditionary Medical Unit during the weeks of providing medical care to the locals. Among them was Deputy Chief of Mission David Hodge, who also had the opportunity to attend the closing ceremony.
“The United States of America and Guatemala share a long tradition of work and combined effort as allied countries for the development and security of the region,” said Hodge. “Since 2007, government officials of Guatemala and the U.S. have worked together in numerous humanitarian missions.”
“This mission meets several objectives that provide mutual benefits,” Hodge emphasized. “They include improving the quality of life in communities where the work was completed, training and preparing military personnel in basic humanitarian and civic help, and strengthening the regional stability and the links between our countries.”
CP-18 will continue to the third and final stop of the deployment in Columbia where the team will continue their mission objectives.
MC2 Kayla Cosby, Continuing Promise 2018