Joint Task Force Supports Army South in Honduras
By Air Force Tech. Sgt. William Farrow
Special to American Forces Press Service
SOTO CANO AIR BASE, Honduras, April 14, 2008 A U.S. Army South exercise in Honduras is testing Joint Task Force Bravo’s ability to support forward-deployed troops over three months as the number of U.S. military personnel on Soto Cano Air Base nearly doubles.
Army Sgt. Jose G. Colon, of the 756th Engineer Company from Ceiba, Puerto Rico, digs out the site of a new lavatory in Las Mesas, Honduras, during Beyond the Horizon 2008. Host unit Joint Task Force Bravo has issued more than 8,000 gallons of fuel for exercise activities. Photo by Army Spc. Anthony Reagan
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
A Honduran base that’s home to the Honduran air force academy, Soto Cano Air Base also is home to the 500 U.S. Army, Air Force and Navy personnel who make up Joint Task Force Bravo and has opened its gates to more than 300 personnel associated with the exercise, dubbed “Beyond the Horizon.”
“Beyond the Horizon is a multinational, joint-force exercise in which U.S. military personnel will conduct various engineering projects and medical readiness exercises for the benefit of the local population in Honduras,” said exercise spokesman Army Staff Sgt. Danny McCormick. “From April until June, we will renovate three schools and construct two new schools, four lavatories, four water towers and one storage shed, in addition to conducting various [medical readiness training exercises].”
Throughout the exercise, nearly 2,100 people will cycle through Soto Cano Air Base, requiring a vast array of support from almost every Joint Task Force Bravo unit, ranging from the tents they live in to the food they eat.
“One of our primary capabilities is to support forward-deployed forces during a contingency in Central America,” said Army Col. Marcus DeOliveira, Joint Task Force Bravo commander. “[Beyond the Horizon] is an excellent way to test that capability, and the men and women of JTF Bravo have risen to the challenge.”
Air Force Capt. Kenya Colon, logistics deputy director, said some tasks the joint task force has performed to date include coordinating customs clearance for Beyond the Horizon materials and equipment, line-hauling 50 vehicles and nearly 140 pieces of equipment, issuing more than 6,600 field-ration meals and 9,500 bottles of water, and providing more than 8,000 gallons of fuel for exercise activities.
The base engineering office is providing a variety of support for Beyond the Horizon, from building the “tent city” in which the exercise personnel are living to providing showers and laundry facilities.
“Our support activities, which include sanitation, ground works and any other infrastructure-related concerns, will continue through the duration of the exercise,” said Air Force 1st Lt. Tim Brodman, the engineering section chief.
Procuring supplies for the various Beyond the Horizon medical teams also has tested the Joint Task Force Bravo medical element’s support abilities, as the element ordered, stored and distributed the vast majority of the supplies the visiting medical corps needs to perform medical readiness training exercises throughout the region, Air Force 1st Lt. Joel Richardson, medical logistics office, said.
“We also function as their logistical reach-back capability during their time in the field,” Richardson said. “If anything goes wrong with their supplies, we assist them as much as possible.”
“JTF Bravo is key to the success of [Beyond the Horizon],” said Army Maj. Lyndon Jones, the mission’s information operations officer. “While BTH personnel are out in the community working with Hondurans to improve services in the community, they can focus on the task at hand knowing that JTF Bravo will make sure they have a place to shower, eat and sleep when the job is done.”
(Air Force 1st Lt. Erika Yepsen contributed to this report. Yepsen and Farrow serve with Joint Task Force Bravo Public Affairs.)