Army South CG visits Panama, rewards efforts during BTH exercise
COLON, Panama - Maj. Gen. Frederick S. Rudesheim, U. S. Army South commanding general, visited Panama June 3-4 and took time to visit medical readiness training exercise sites and met with members of Task Force Panama.
During his conversation with the troops he mentioned the immediate and long term impact of their efforts for the people of Panama during Beyond the Horizon-Panama 2013.
“It [Beyond the Horizon-Panama 2013] is an opportunity for our Soldiers and units of the United States to come to other countries, to bring support and also work side-by-side with the people of Panama,” said Rudesheim, who was born and raised in Panama. “This has been a good experience, and in reality, this is one of those experiences that they will remember for the rest of their lives.
Beyond the Horizon is a program that has taken place in Central and South America and the Caribbean for more than 20 years.
“[The exercise] has changed names a few times, but it continues to be the same partnership program with a host country in which we are sent in order to help the people of that country help themselves,” said Rudesheim.
He spent the morning greeting the Soldiers, Panamanian health-care providers and locals at the medical readiness training exercise held in Torti. He visited each healthcare station, spoke with the patients and listened to their stories.
“It was a pleasure to have him here,” said Staff. Sgt. Heather Prange, a medic with the 848th Forward Surgical Team from Akron, Ohio. “I’ve never met him before and he actually helped translate for a patient here so we could provide the correct treatment. I didn’t know that he spoke Spanish.”
Rudesheim awarded one local police officer and several Colombian soldiers serving alongside the U.S. service members with an Army South commander’s coin. He also recognized five U.S. Soldiers with coins for their hard work and efforts.
“It was nice having him come through and see what we’re doing here,” said Sgt. Jeffery Erwin, a medic from the 140th Medical Company. “He said that he appreciates what we’re doing, so it’s kind of nice to get recognized for that.
Beyond the Horizon- Panama 2013 is a U.S. Southern Command-sponsored, U.S. Army South-led joint humanitarian and civic assistance exercise deploying service members specializing in engineering, construction and health care to provide services to communities while also receiving valuable deployment training and building cooperative relationships with the country of Panama.