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Army South, Belize Defence Force conduct combat medic engagement

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Sgt. 1st Class Erik Adams (kneeling), conducts a combat medic engagement with members of Belize’s Defence Force and Navy while Sgt. 1st Class Don Berry (standing behind Adams) looks on Nov. 2011. Sgt. 1st Class Erik Adams (kneeling), conducts a combat medic engagement with members of Belize’s Defence Force and Navy while Sgt. 1st Class Don Berry (standing behind Adams) looks on Nov. 2011.

FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas (Jan. 17, 2012) – U.S. Army South continued it’s long-standing tradition of working closely with partner nation armies by conducting a combat medic engagement with members of Belize’s Defence Force and Navy last November near Ladyville, Belize.

The engagement was effective and ultimately led to plans for an additional mission this February, said Sgt. 1st Class Efrem Dicochea, U.S. Army South Surgeon’s Office operations noncommissioned officer.

            “We were there at the request of the Belizean Defence Force,” said Dicochea. “The engagement was basically a refresher for the Belizean military on basic emergency medical technician skills.”

            The engagement was led by two Army South Soldiers who joined forces with two subject matter experts from the U.S. Army Medical Department Center and School based here.

            The U.S. personnel worked with 16 Belizean medics serving in remote areas of the country including two navy personnel and 14 army.

            “We practice on all emergent lifesaving steps so that the medic who is out there alone, away from medical facilities, has the capability to stabilize the patients before bringing them to the medical facility,” said Dicochea.

            This was the third trip of its kind into Belize for combat medic engagement by Army South personnel since 2010, the mission is important since it increases capabilities and makes headway toward achieving common goals and saving lives.

            “I believe the reason we’re going over there is to help better both our militaries and to give them the capabilities to be able to save a life in a remote area based on whatever missions they have,” said Dicochea. “We’re helping them support the units that go into the jungle to help counter narcotics and terrorism operations. The more we help them and make them more capable to deter drug traffickers or counter terrorism the better off we all are.”

            Army South, which has conducted similar engagements in the past with other partner nations including Guatemala, Dominican Republic, Guayana and Suriname, is already planning another engagement with Belize next month.

            This effort supports U.S. Southern Command and Army South’s goals as well as the Army chief of staff guidance to be a force of decisive results by engaging with our allies while building partner capacity.

“We’ve built a pretty good relationship with Belize,” said Dicochea. “We’re looking forward to working closely with them again during our engagement this February.”

The February engagement will focus on jungle rescue and trauma treatment.