SOTO CANO AIR BASE, Honduras (Jan. 31, 2014) -- Soto Cano Air Base and Joint Task Force-Bravo are playing a major supporting role in the logistics of an upcoming large-scale humanitarian and civic assistance program in Central America.
Beyond the Horizon is a U.S. Southern Command-sponsored, joint foreign military interaction/humanitarian exercise. During Beyond the Horizon 2014, approximately 1,200 U.S. servicemembers, including military engineers and medical professionals, will deploy to Guatemala for training and to provide humanitarian services.
"The purpose of Beyond the Horizon 2014 Guatemala is to conduct civil-military operations, including humanitarian civic assistance, medical, dental and engineering support, and to show U.S. support and commitment to the Guatemalan people," said U.S. Army Col. John W. Findley, Task Force Commander, Beyond the Horizon 2014, Guatemala.
While the majority of the equipment and supplies for this mission come from each unit's home station, according to Findley, items such as rations or Class I supplies, as well as several types of engineering and maintenance equipment come from the Army South Theater Exercise and Contingency Support Activity (ATESCA) at Soto Cano.
"ATESCA is kind of like our lifeline to supporting our servicemembers on the ground," said Findley. "Part of the Beyond the Horizon exercise each year is to send a load-out team to Soto Cano and inventory and load all of the material and equipment we'll need. It is a major undertaking to accomplish."
Findley noted that the support provided by Joint Task Force-Bravo's logistics team is critical to the overall success of the Beyond the Horizons operation.
"They are imperative to our mission," he said. "We save a lot of money getting our supplies from Soto Cano. The shipping costs are much less than bringing all of our equipment and supplies from the U.S."
U.S. Air Force Capt. Allen Bear, Joint Task Force-Bravo Director of Logistics, said he is proud his directorate can play a role in the operation.
"It's exciting to be able to provide logistics support for this type of mission," said U.S. Air Force Capt. Allen Bear, Joint Task Force-Bravo Logistics Director. "To know that by providing support we are contributing to humanitarian and civic assistance with our partner nations is truly rewarding."
This logistics support leads to a program that Findley said is extremely important in developing and furthering partner-nation relationships while meeting U.S. Southern Command strategic goals.
"In addition to our training opportunities, this will also be a lasting legacy of our partnership with Guatemala," he said. "The U.S. and Guatemala are nations with common interests, proud of the progress and partnerships we have made together and ready to increase our cooperation and coordination in the future. I believe that Guatemala is important to the prosperity and security of the U.S."
Beyond the Horizon continues U.S. Southern Command's proud legacy of humanitarian civic assistance exercise programs in the region. The governments of each participating nation, the U.S. Department of State, and U.S. Department of Defense have carefully evaluated and approved these exercises.