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Salvadoran Armed Forces and SOUTHCOM Cooperate to Build Schools and Provide Medical Services

Salvadoran Armed Forces and SOUTHCOM Cooperate to Build Schools and Provide Medical Services

By Dialogo
April 14, 2015






In a show of friendship and solidarity, the Salvadoran Armed Forces (FAES, for its Spanish acronym) and the United States Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) are working in cooperation to construct five new schools and rebuild 15 classrooms at vulnerable communities in the Salvadoran departments of Santa Ana and La Libertad, as part of the humanitarian exercise, "Beyond the Horizon 2015.”

The project also includes the construction of a medical laboratory and the arrangements for four health Brigades, all at a cost of $9.8 million, said Brigadier General William Mejía, Chief of Staff of the Salvadoran Army.

“This exercise is aimed at improving living, health and education conditions for the persons residing in some of the high-risk communities that we believe need this type of support,” Gen. Mejía said.

The initiative is a team effort, with 150 FAES and 250 U.S Armed Forces service members working to develop infrastructure plans and launch medical Brigades. From April 11 through June 6 the medical Brigades will operate in the departments of Santa Lucía, La Libertad, and San Salvador. The project also calls for the expansion of a health unit in the Department of Libertad to house a new clinical laboratory.

Officials began to organize the exercise in 2014 in coordination with the Ministries of Education, Health and Defense, the Departmental Affairs offices, the FAES and SOUTHCOM.

SOUTHCOM provides civic assistance throughout the country


Building schools and deploying medical Brigades are part of a broad effort by SOUTHCOM to work with Salvadoran Military and civilian authorities to improve living conditions for the civilian population throughout the country.

“We have performed civic actions throughout the country and we have seen the children’s faces in the villages, who need educational and healthcare support in order to get ahead," said Colonel Robert Wagner, U.S. Army Military Group Chief in El Salvador. "This is why we have focused our efforts in these places. The Southern Command is supplying a lot of the resources, the troops and their efforts in a show of friendship.”

FAES and U.S. Soldiers are working together to rebuild classrooms at the Arnulfo Castro school in the Department of Santa Ana, and the Nuevo Consumidero and Estanzuelas schools, both in La Libertad Department.

The rebuilding effort will have positive long-term effects, since most of the U.S. service members participating in the project are engineers or physicians.

”This type of humanitarian exercises allow the transfer of knowledge in engineering to provide assistance to civilians in disasters or calamities,” said security analyst Misael Rivas Soriano, dean of the faculty of Law and Social Sciences of the Universidad Nueva San Salvador (UNSSA).

Experience plays a great role in such projects because over the years "SOUTHCOM has developed much logistical expertise to bring humanitarian aid in cases of disaster," Rivas said. The project will allow the FAES to support communities in El Salvador, for example, in the case of the rehabilitation of schools, which are places where people gather every time there is a natural disaster."

Beyond the Horizon also serves as a training opportunity in Humanitarian Civil Assistance for the U.S. engineer, medical, and sustainment units to improve their joint training readiness, while providing them with training opportunities with Salvadoran public forces, ministries of health, education, and agriculture, according to information from SOUTHCOM.

International cooperation


FAES and the U.S. Armed Forces aren't the only Military personnel cooperating on the project.

“The complement of service members for this Military exercise are supported by personnel from Colombia, Canada, Chile and Brazil, a symbol of the strong bonds of friendship and cooperation between the United States and El Salvador,” Col. Wagner said.

A U.S. Navy ship arrived at Acajutla Port on March 13, carrying trucks, machinery and construction material for the project, as well as medications for the medical Brigades. Other equipment arrived over land from Soto Cano Air Base in Honduras.







In a show of friendship and solidarity, the Salvadoran Armed Forces (FAES, for its Spanish acronym) and the United States Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) are working in cooperation to construct five new schools and rebuild 15 classrooms at vulnerable communities in the Salvadoran departments of Santa Ana and La Libertad, as part of the humanitarian exercise, "Beyond the Horizon 2015.”

The project also includes the construction of a medical laboratory and the arrangements for four health Brigades, all at a cost of $9.8 million, said Brigadier General William Mejía, Chief of Staff of the Salvadoran Army.

“This exercise is aimed at improving living, health and education conditions for the persons residing in some of the high-risk communities that we believe need this type of support,” Gen. Mejía said.

The initiative is a team effort, with 150 FAES and 250 U.S Armed Forces service members working to develop infrastructure plans and launch medical Brigades. From April 11 through June 6 the medical Brigades will operate in the departments of Santa Lucía, La Libertad, and San Salvador. The project also calls for the expansion of a health unit in the Department of Libertad to house a new clinical laboratory.

Officials began to organize the exercise in 2014 in coordination with the Ministries of Education, Health and Defense, the Departmental Affairs offices, the FAES and SOUTHCOM.

SOUTHCOM provides civic assistance throughout the country


Building schools and deploying medical Brigades are part of a broad effort by SOUTHCOM to work with Salvadoran Military and civilian authorities to improve living conditions for the civilian population throughout the country.

“We have performed civic actions throughout the country and we have seen the children’s faces in the villages, who need educational and healthcare support in order to get ahead," said Colonel Robert Wagner, U.S. Army Military Group Chief in El Salvador. "This is why we have focused our efforts in these places. The Southern Command is supplying a lot of the resources, the troops and their efforts in a show of friendship.”

FAES and U.S. Soldiers are working together to rebuild classrooms at the Arnulfo Castro school in the Department of Santa Ana, and the Nuevo Consumidero and Estanzuelas schools, both in La Libertad Department.

The rebuilding effort will have positive long-term effects, since most of the U.S. service members participating in the project are engineers or physicians.

”This type of humanitarian exercises allow the transfer of knowledge in engineering to provide assistance to civilians in disasters or calamities,” said security analyst Misael Rivas Soriano, dean of the faculty of Law and Social Sciences of the Universidad Nueva San Salvador (UNSSA).

Experience plays a great role in such projects because over the years "SOUTHCOM has developed much logistical expertise to bring humanitarian aid in cases of disaster," Rivas said. The project will allow the FAES to support communities in El Salvador, for example, in the case of the rehabilitation of schools, which are places where people gather every time there is a natural disaster."

Beyond the Horizon also serves as a training opportunity in Humanitarian Civil Assistance for the U.S. engineer, medical, and sustainment units to improve their joint training readiness, while providing them with training opportunities with Salvadoran public forces, ministries of health, education, and agriculture, according to information from SOUTHCOM.

International cooperation


FAES and the U.S. Armed Forces aren't the only Military personnel cooperating on the project.

“The complement of service members for this Military exercise are supported by personnel from Colombia, Canada, Chile and Brazil, a symbol of the strong bonds of friendship and cooperation between the United States and El Salvador,” Col. Wagner said.

A U.S. Navy ship arrived at Acajutla Port on March 13, carrying trucks, machinery and construction material for the project, as well as medications for the medical Brigades. Other equipment arrived over land from Soto Cano Air Base in Honduras.


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