DAVIS-MONTHAN AFB, Ariz. (Feb. 4, 2014) -- Members of Air Forces Southern have begun to trickle into Belize in preparation for New Horizons '14, a U.S. Southern Command exercise focusing on improving the joint training readiness of U.S. military members, partner nation civil engineers, medical professionals and support personnel through humanitarian assistance activities.
This will be the second year in a row that the New Horizons exercise has taken place in Belize. Last year, members of the Belize Defence Force, contractors throughout Belize, and Airmen, Soldiers, and Marines worked side-by-side to build community centers, medical clinics and schools.
"We are thrilled that the Belizean people have been gracious enough to invite us to conduct the New Horizons Exercise in their country for a second year in a row," said Col. Daniel Pepper, New Horizons '14 Air Expeditionary Task Force commander. "Our friendships and partnerships with the Belizean people have grown tremendously over the past two years and we look forward to strengthening our great relationship during this year's exercise."
Deployed military construction, contracting and quality assurance personnel, alongside host nation contractors and the Belize Defence Force, are currently in country readying medical and construction sites in preparation for the early-Spring arrival of construction equipment, materials and main body personnel.
Exercise personnel affiliated with New Horizons will be working at several locations throughout Belize with the New Horizons team headquartered at Price Barracks near Belize City.
There will be multiple Medical Readiness Training Exercises in Belize City, Corozal and in areas surrounding Punta Gorda. During these Medical Readiness Training Exercises, teams of medical doctors and specialists with equipment and supplies will provide medical treatment to the local population. The doctors and specialists are comprised of U.S., Canadian, and Belizean professionals.
In addition, civil engineers from both the U.S. and Belize will construct a hospital ward in Belmopan, three schools in Belize City, and one school in Hattieville. The schools will support furthering the education of children in the country.
New Horizons dates back to the 1980s and is conducted in a Central American, South American or Caribbean partner-nation at the government's request. Once the location is determined, the host-nation government assembles and prioritizes a list of proposed medical and construction projects, which is balanced against the exercise's training objectives to ensure that participants get the maximum training benefit. From there, planning for the deployment and all of the things that go with it begins.
A key benefits that U.S. service members receive from New Horizons is the opportunity to learn from and build partnerships with the exercise participants from the host-nation's government and military forces.
Over the past 20 years, U.S. Southern Command has regularly partnered with the Belize Defence Force as well as the Ministries of Health and Education to conduct combined exercises that make both sides more prepared to respond to humanitarian relief scenarios.