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Soto Cano Task Force Arrives in Peru

By Senior Airman Shaun Emery, USAF
Special to American Forces Press Service

PISCO, Peru, Aug. 18, 2007 – A team of airmen and soldiers from Joint Task Force Bravo at Soto Cano Air Base, Honduras, arrived here yesterday to provide medical care to those suffering in the aftermath of a magnitude 8.0 earthquake that devastated the region Aug. 15.

The task force is the first American force to touch down in Pisco, joining other relief personnel from all over the world. Members of the Soto Cano Medical Element are equipped to treat up to 500 people without resupply.

“We will be able to provide basic medications, treat minor wounds, as well as perform a few minor or major surgeries,” said Lt. Col. (Dr.) Robert Rush, the medical element’s chief of surgery.

As citizens of Pisco begin the tedious process of reconstruction, there is a chance for additional injuries, officials said.

“If we need to treat additional traumas as people sift through rubble and debris, we will be able to take on those cases as well,” Rush said.

In an area where basic medical care is in short supply, members of Joint Task Force Bravo are ready to provide everything they can.

“This is an opportunity for the United States military to use its medical care capabilities in an austere environment,” said Air Force Tech. Sgt. Jesus Antillon, assistant noncommissioned officer medical technician charge for the element. “This is what we train for. It is the reason we conduct exercises for all different scenarios -- so we can support other nations in times of need.”

The Soto Cano task force, which comprises about 30 U.S. military personnel, includes a mobile surgery team, communications specialists and a small security detail.

(Air Force Senior Airman Shaun Emery is assigned to Joint Task Force Bravo Public Affairs.)

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