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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.


Joined: Oct 1999
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Marty Offline OP
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New Horizons Ends

For the past few months, personnel from the US Military's Southern Command have been in Belize. They've been working with the Belize Defence Force under the New Horizons program to provide training, and to build classrooms and medical facilities.

This year's new Horizons effort led the construction of 4 new classrooms in the Belize District at Edward P. York High School, Hattieville Government School, Sadie Vernon High School, and Stella Maris School. also, under New Horizons, a brand new medical unit was built at the Western Regional Hospital, and the US SouthCom's doctors saw over 7,000 patients while here.

This year's session officially came an end with a ceremony this afternoon at the newly built classroom building at the Hattieville Government School, and 7News attended.

Brigadier General David Jones, Commander, B.D.F.
"This is a project that we try to get from the US military as often as possible. In the past they use to come at least once every 4 years. We've had it back to back now and we are trying to it again at least by 2016. They have already confirmed they are going to come back. What New Horizon does is provide infrastructure projects specifically for schools and medical facilities. This year they did 4 schools; this one here at Hattieville, one at Edward P Yorke, one at Sadie Vernon and the other at Crooked Tree. They also did a hospital In Belmopan which is an excellent facility."

Dr. Peter Allen, C.E.O., Ministry of Health
"We've hosted clinics in different parts of Corozal District and different parts of Toledo District. We've had surgical clinics, especially focusing on urology at Karl Heusner and even now as we speak we have dental clinics still going on in Belize City for a full range of restorative services. So we've seen through those particular processes over 8,000 patients, but there is actually close to 20,000 and counters with different patients who've seen different specialties for several things, so it's been a really excellent and very productive partnership. We are very grateful for US Southern Command, we are very grateful for the BDF's involvement, we are very grateful for our own people who been working very closely with the members of the New Horizon task force and as you know we also constructed an extension to the Western Regional Hospital - a brand new acute psychiatric unit right in Belmopan. Excellent work constructed probably a value of over a million dollars and of course at no cost to the Belizean tax payers, so we are very grateful for that assistance."

Carlos Moreno, US Ambassador to Belize
"In all honesty be more proud than I am of the work that the individuals who came together here to build this school and this room - I just couldn't be more proud than that."

Brigadier General David Jones says that he's already lobbied the US Government to ensure that New Horizons comes back to Belize in 2016.

Channel 7

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