PUERTO BARRIOS, Guatemala (NNS) -- The Continuing Promise 2018 (CP-18) team reached its mid-deployment mark in Puerto Barrios, Guatemala, April 11.
A team comprised of 250 Navy and Army service members disembarked the Military Sealift Command's expeditionary fast transport vessel USNS Spearhead (T-EPF 1) after arriving in Puerto Barrios, April 5, for it's second mission stop during CP-18.
CP-18 has provided medical, dental, environmental and veterinary care, which includes preventive treatments, optometry screenings, and women's health services. Civil military operations, including humanitarian assistance and disaster relief have also been a part of the mission in Honduras and Guatemala.
The united effort of U.S. forces and host nation participants' midway through the deployment resulted in the treatment of more than 11,500 patients. Veterinarian care was provided to more than 1,200 animals with 155 surgeries during mission visits in Honduras and Guatemala.
"This mission stop gave us the ability to engage and improve interoperability with our partner nations' medical and civic assistance teams," said Capt. Angel Cruz, Commodore of Destroyer Squadron 40. "Our team has impacted thousands of patients' lives and those interactions provided an invaluable opportunity to learn together with our allies."
The subject matter expert exchanges (SMEE) have been a consistent joint effort between the host nation governments, ministries of health, local hospitals, clinics, labs and staffs. Each of the 191 SMEE topics was built upon relationships created in previous missions.
The CP-18 surgical team has worked alongside Honduran and Guatemalan surgeons and nurses to perform over 70 surgeries.
"Continuing Promise 2018 has been a very rewarding experience for not only me, but our entire surgical team," said Cmdr. Jeanne Lewandowski, surgery lead for CP-18. "The 65 or so Sailors who work at the surgical site's Expeditionary Medical Unit give their all and truly enjoy working with the Guatemalan and Honduran doctors and nurses."
The community relations (COMREL) events included a dozen of visits to schools, orphanages, and sporting events alongside members of the community in each host nation.
The U.S. Fleet Forces Band has shared their musical talents throughout the mission, performing 24 concerts at local events, medical sites, and schools. The band has also held joint performances alongside host nation bands.
Although this port visit marks the halfway point in the mission, the crew continues to look ahead to the remaining CP-18 mission stop, Columbia.
CP-18 is a U.S. Southern Command-sponsored and U.S. Naval Forces Southern/U.S. 4th Fleet-conducted deployment to conduct civil-military operations including humanitarian assistance, training engagements and medical, dental, and veterinary support in an effort to show U.S. support and commitment to Central and South America.
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