PUNTA PENA, Panama (NNS) -- Top Panamanian leaders and visited a Continuing Promise 2010 (CP10) medical site and toured USS Iwo Jima (LHD 7) Oct. 4 in Punta Pena, Panama.
Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli, Vice President Juan Carlos Varela, U.S. Ambassador to Panama Phyllis M. Powers, and Minister of Health Franklin Vergara, visited medical and dental professionals providing humanitarian aid to Panamanian citizens at a Punta Pena school before touring USS Iwo Jima, anchored off the coast of Chiriqui Grande, Panama.
"From the bottom of my heart, there are no words to thank you for this life-changing magical operation," said Martinelli. "We're thankful for everyone here who has helped improve the daily lives of the people in Panama with medical and humanitarian assistance. There are many nations in the world with armies and businesses, but very few offer the type of help the United States does."
Service members arrived off the coast of Chiriqui Grande Sept. 27 to provide medical, dental, engineering and veterinarian assistance in Panama. During their time in Panama, mission personnel went ashore and established three medical sites, three community relations events, two engineering sites and provided a roving preventative medicine and veterinarian team.
"I'm very excited to be here to observe in person all the hard work that Continuing Promise 2010 has been doing," said Powers. "I'm impressed with the number of people we've been able to help, and I'm moved by what I've seen today. I won't forget the image of the members of our armed forces."
In less than one week, CP10 members provided medical and dental assistance to more than 4,000 Panamanian citizens, immunized more than 800 animals and continued work on construction projects in local schools and community parks.
"One week ago, this Continuing Promise mission came to the beautiful shores of Chiriqui Grande, and I pledged to you then the work of our heads, our hands and our hearts as a true demonstration of the strength of our commitment to you [Panama]." said Capt. Thomas M. Negus, CP10 commodore.
Before his departure, the president and distinguished visitors walked throughout the medical site, shaking hands of service members and observing current medical and dental operations. Shortly after, they geared up and flew in CH-46 Sea Knight helicopters to the Iwo Jima for a tour of the ship.
"Our international and multi-organizational team has formed great partnerships with Panama," said Negus. "For it is through our partnership that we best experience the magic of Continuing Promise that turns knowledge into understanding, neighbors into friends, and sweat and effort into hopes and dreams. Thank you for allowing us to serve with you and continuing our promise."
For more news from U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command & U.S. 4th Fleet, visit www.navy.mil/local/cusns/.