Joint Task Force-Bravo Assists Honduran Families in Remote Areas

Joint Task Force-Bravo Assists Honduran Families in Remote Areas

By Dialogo
April 07, 2015





More than 170 members of Joint Task Force Bravo (JTF-Bravo), which operates out of the Soto Cano Air Base in Honduras, recently delivered humanitarian aid to 230 families in need.

Participants in the 59th Chapel Hike -- a longstanding tradition of delivering supplies to underserviced communities in the mountains -- departed on February 28 for an 11-kilometer round-trip hike to the remote communities of La Brea and La Laguna, both in the Department of Comayagua. There, they delivered more than 2,040 kilograms of food to Hondurans in need.

Since the tradition began in 2004, about 9,800 service members have donated more than $173,800 and delivered more than 214,000 pounds of food to villages. It's not an easy journey; the homes are difficult to reach by vehicle, and for more than 5.6 kilometers, each member of the Joint Task Force climbed more than 457 meters of mountainous terrain with nine kilograms of food in their packs.

But the hard work pays off when Service Members demonstrate their commitment to helping the civilian population.

“Humanitarian aid allows the Armed Forces to maintain a social bond with the more vulnerable communities,” said Eugenio Sosa, a security analyst at the National Autonomous University of Honduras (UNAH). “In the communities, activities of this type are widely accepted. The residents have great admiration for the Honduran Armed Forces and JTF-Bravo due to the efforts of both institutions to help them.”

Hike requires extensive coordination


Collecting donations, buying the food, and delivering it requires a high degree of planning and coordination.

“The chaplain's office worked together with JTF-Bravo's intelligence office and civil and Military operations office, along with Joint Security Forces and the 1st Battalion, 228th Aviation Regiment Unit Ministry Team to scope out and select a village,” said U.S. Air Force Captain Samuel McClellan, JTF-Bravo command chaplain.

“In addition, we worked with the governor of Comayagua [Ana Valenzuela] since she wanted to support La Brea and donate 65 bags of food she acquired from the Permanent Contingency Commission (COPECO) [the Honduran equivalent of FEMA in the U.S.]”

Just before Service Members distributed the food, the community representative of La Laguna, María Pinera, expressed her gratitude to the volunteers of JTF-Bravo.

“Our friends, our neighbors are visiting us today, but they are not coming empty handed. They are here with nutrition for the people,” Pinera said.

After delivering the provisions, the members of JTF-Bravo spent time interacting with the residents and playing with the children, who broke open three piñatas the volunteers donated. Also donated were 24 soccer balls by the Kick for Nick Foundation, a non-profit named after the late Private Nick Madaras that fulfills his dream of U.S. Troops giving soccer balls to children overseas.

Many of the children also filled their hands, pockets, and shirts with sweets that JTF-Bravo Service Members gave them as gifts.

JTF-Bravo also provides medical care


In addition to providing food, JTF-Bravo Service Members also provide medical care to the people of Comayagua on an annual basis.

“Every year we carry out strategic planning with the members of JTF-Bravo, not only for this hike, which is also known as the ‘Hike of Love,’ but also to plan for health issues,” Governor Valenzuela said.

Currently, JTF-Bravo’s Medical Element has two full-service visits scheduled for 2015. First, the Medical Element plans to support a Honduran-led Medical Partnership Exercise in Comayagua Central Parque on June 6. In addition, there will be a two-day Medical Readiness Training Exercise outside Comayagua, scheduled for June 24-25.

JTF-Bravo recently supported the “Better Life through Health” fair by supporting the Ministry of Health’s efforts in handling all of the medical and logistical aspects, in the central square of Comayagua.

JTF-Bravo is one of three joint task forces operating under the United States Southern Command (SOUTHCOM). JTF-Bravo manages a runway that can handle C-5 aircraft, the largest airplane flown by the U.S. Air Force, according to the JTF-Bravo website.

The task force's primary mission is to encourage unity and conduct and support joint operations, actions, and activities in the joint operations area in order to provide security, stability, and regional cooperation.

“The relationship between Honduras and Joint Task Force-Bravo is a good strategic alliance," Valenzuela said. "Last year they met with all 18 Honduran governors from across the country so that they could learn more about the work and the strength of JTF-Bravo.”




More than 170 members of Joint Task Force Bravo (JTF-Bravo), which operates out of the Soto Cano Air Base in Honduras, recently delivered humanitarian aid to 230 families in need.

Participants in the 59th Chapel Hike -- a longstanding tradition of delivering supplies to underserviced communities in the mountains -- departed on February 28 for an 11-kilometer round-trip hike to the remote communities of La Brea and La Laguna, both in the Department of Comayagua. There, they delivered more than 2,040 kilograms of food to Hondurans in need.

Since the tradition began in 2004, about 9,800 service members have donated more than $173,800 and delivered more than 214,000 pounds of food to villages. It's not an easy journey; the homes are difficult to reach by vehicle, and for more than 5.6 kilometers, each member of the Joint Task Force climbed more than 457 meters of mountainous terrain with nine kilograms of food in their packs.

But the hard work pays off when Service Members demonstrate their commitment to helping the civilian population.

“Humanitarian aid allows the Armed Forces to maintain a social bond with the more vulnerable communities,” said Eugenio Sosa, a security analyst at the National Autonomous University of Honduras (UNAH). “In the communities, activities of this type are widely accepted. The residents have great admiration for the Honduran Armed Forces and JTF-Bravo due to the efforts of both institutions to help them.”

Hike requires extensive coordination


Collecting donations, buying the food, and delivering it requires a high degree of planning and coordination.

“The chaplain's office worked together with JTF-Bravo's intelligence office and civil and Military operations office, along with Joint Security Forces and the 1st Battalion, 228th Aviation Regiment Unit Ministry Team to scope out and select a village,” said U.S. Air Force Captain Samuel McClellan, JTF-Bravo command chaplain.

“In addition, we worked with the governor of Comayagua [Ana Valenzuela] since she wanted to support La Brea and donate 65 bags of food she acquired from the Permanent Contingency Commission (COPECO) [the Honduran equivalent of FEMA in the U.S.]”

Just before Service Members distributed the food, the community representative of La Laguna, María Pinera, expressed her gratitude to the volunteers of JTF-Bravo.

“Our friends, our neighbors are visiting us today, but they are not coming empty handed. They are here with nutrition for the people,” Pinera said.

After delivering the provisions, the members of JTF-Bravo spent time interacting with the residents and playing with the children, who broke open three piñatas the volunteers donated. Also donated were 24 soccer balls by the Kick for Nick Foundation, a non-profit named after the late Private Nick Madaras that fulfills his dream of U.S. Troops giving soccer balls to children overseas.

Many of the children also filled their hands, pockets, and shirts with sweets that JTF-Bravo Service Members gave them as gifts.

JTF-Bravo also provides medical care


In addition to providing food, JTF-Bravo Service Members also provide medical care to the people of Comayagua on an annual basis.

“Every year we carry out strategic planning with the members of JTF-Bravo, not only for this hike, which is also known as the ‘Hike of Love,’ but also to plan for health issues,” Governor Valenzuela said.

Currently, JTF-Bravo’s Medical Element has two full-service visits scheduled for 2015. First, the Medical Element plans to support a Honduran-led Medical Partnership Exercise in Comayagua Central Parque on June 6. In addition, there will be a two-day Medical Readiness Training Exercise outside Comayagua, scheduled for June 24-25.

JTF-Bravo recently supported the “Better Life through Health” fair by supporting the Ministry of Health’s efforts in handling all of the medical and logistical aspects, in the central square of Comayagua.

JTF-Bravo is one of three joint task forces operating under the United States Southern Command (SOUTHCOM). JTF-Bravo manages a runway that can handle C-5 aircraft, the largest airplane flown by the U.S. Air Force, according to the JTF-Bravo website.

The task force's primary mission is to encourage unity and conduct and support joint operations, actions, and activities in the joint operations area in order to provide security, stability, and regional cooperation.

“The relationship between Honduras and Joint Task Force-Bravo is a good strategic alliance," Valenzuela said. "Last year they met with all 18 Honduran governors from across the country so that they could learn more about the work and the strength of JTF-Bravo.”
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