A general surgery team conducted a Surgery Readiness Training Exercise (SURGRETE) at Western Regional Hospital in Belmopan, Belize, August 25, 2022, as part of Resolute Sentinel 22, a U.S. Air Forces Southern/12th Air Force-led U.S. Southern Command exercise.
Exercises like Resolute Sentinel improve readiness for a range of potential future missions to support the people of Belize and all of the Americas — from disaster relief to humanitarian assistance to security operations.
Over the course of two weeks, the team completed surgeries in Dangriga and Belmopan. In Belmopan alone, the team completed nine procedures ranging from gallbladder removals and hernia removals.
“Joint Task Force Bravo [JTF-Bravo] has had a long presence in Central America. We try to support Minister of Health or hospitals in different areas,” said Dr. Guillermo Saenz, JTF-Bravo liaison medical officer. “This time was general surgeries, but we have done primary care in other parts of Belize.”
While this was not Dr. Saenz’s first time in Belize, it was the first time for the U.S. Army medical team.
“The country is beautiful, and the people are wonderful. It has been an honor and pleasure to come and augment surgery with the locals,” said U.S. Army Captain Sarah Carl, a circulatory nurse with the 256 Field Hospital, Twinsburg, Ohio.
Training with the local Belizean medical personnel helped shape partnerships.
“Learning that there’s more than one way to do things this helps prepare the American side working in an austere environment and settings we’re not used to,” said Capt. Carl. “So, should there be any natural disasters or other sorts of disasters, we are better prepared to help augment and alleviate stress for a partner nation.”
The team will head back to Soto Cano Air Base, Honduras, but they plan on coming back to Belize for more experiences.
“Any mission would be wonderful. To see the program expand would be great and to help augment more surgeries or primary care. Any way JTF-Bravo could help I’m sure would be welcomed,” said Capt. Carl.