Arkansas Air National Guard members worked alongside U.S. and foreign military forces, government officials, and civilian personnel to provide humanitarian assistance through medical care in Puerto Barrios, Guatemala, from October 26-31, 2022, during Continuing Promise 2022.
Senior Airman Tabari Matthews, 189th dental technician, assisted Canadian Army Captain Cleve Kim, dentist, in the planning for treatment of 35 recipients on October 28, 2022.
“It is a lot of fun talking to other military forces,” said Capt. Kim. “I get to know them and how they operate. It has been an interesting and memorable experience.”
“It was a great learning experience,” says Senior Airman Matthews. “Capt. Kim was very precise, and it was interesting to work with him and the other dentists.”
The joint effort is accomplished through the commitment and communication of all those involved, while developing enduring relationships.
Capt. Kim also recognized some challenges that arise when working with foreign personnel and being able to overcome those challenges.
“I have to convert the system for numbering teeth that I’m used to and use the American system,” said Capt. Kim. “So I slow down in order to make sure we are communicating clearly with one another.”
The mission is supported by U.S. military personnel from Joint Task Force-Bravo, U.S. State Department, U.S. Health and Human Services, U.S. Public Health Services, and the U.S. Agency for International Development, non-federal entities, and academic institutions who have volunteered to serve, and medical personnel from Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Honduras, The Netherlands, and the United Kingdom are part of the Continuing Promise 2022 team in Guatemala.
Continuing Promise 2022 encourages the establishment of new partnerships among nations, non-federal entities, and international organizations. The mission utilizes the State Partnership Program (SPP) with Guatemala to support security cooperation objectives, improve interoperability, and provide humanitarian assistance with expeditionary medical care while increasing readiness skills.
The Arkansas National Guard and Guatemala have been paired in the National Guard’s SPP for two decades.