Beyond The Horizon 2014: An Action in Civility and Commitment

Beyond the Horizon 2014 is a multi-faceted civic assistance exercise conducted by United States troops in Latin and Caribbean nations.
By CPT Gerald Walling, ARSOUTH | 5 June 2014

Capacity Building

A Guatemalan radio host reads a statement about a medical readiness training exercise that was held during Beyond the Horizon, in Chiquimula, Guatemala, May 6, 2014. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Richard Morales)

Beyond the Horizon 2014 is a multi-faceted civic assistance exercise conducted by United States troops in Latin and Caribbean nations. Since its inception in 2008, U.S. military personnel have deployed under the Texas-based U.S. Army South (ARSOUTH) banner in order to provide humanitarian and community services to partner nations such as Peru, Dominican Republic, and Guatemala.

U.S. Army and Guatemalan Soldiers post signs to notify locals of a construction site where they build a new school for local villagers during Beyond the Horizon 2014, Zacapa, Guatemala, April 16, 2014. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Justin P. Morelli)

“The purpose of Beyond the Horizon 2014 Guatemala is to conduct civil-military operations [to include] medical, dental and engineering support,” said U.S. Army Col. John W. Findley, Task Force Commander for Beyond the Horizon 2014, Guatemala.” However, it should be noted there is a greater objective being achieved with these exercises, “showing U.S. support and commitment to the Guatemalan people," said Col. Findley.

One of the ways U.S. soldiers are showing “support and commitment” to the local populace is via Medical Readiness Training Exercises (MEDRETE). MEDRETEs are medical activities provided by U.S. military healthcare personnel working in conjunction with Guatemalan providers to give medical and dental services to people in underserved areas. These acts of civic assistance offer citizens much needed healthcare while affording U.S. troops invaluable training abroad.

Judging by observations made from SSG Jeremiah Bushdiecker the mission has been successful. The people that participated in the MEDRETEs have been very pleased with the services provided and expressed enthusiasm for not just us, but for their own countrymen who are part of this operation.”

A key factor in the mission accomplishment has been how well U.S. troops have effectively integrated with their hosts, Guatemala’s Destacamento de Asuntos Civiles (Civil Affairs Detachment), Segunda Brigada, Zacapa, into Task Force Oso.

“The locals have responded well to seeing the United States and Guatemalan Soldiers working together. It shows that this is very much a mutual effort.” said Bushdiecker.

U.S. and Guatemala Soldiers work together to disseminate handbills and information about an upcoming medical clinic in the area. (Photo by Cpt. Gerald Walling)

Need further proof?

Upon visiting a school called Caserio Los Limones in the Zacapa region of eastern Guatemala, members of Task Force Oso were given handwritten thank you cards by children expressing gratitude and support for the team’s efforts in their community.

In fact, the youngsters went one step further in showing their appreciation for the troops. Highlighting their own creative and marketing prowess, the kids designated and exhibited posters trumpeting upcoming medical events in their area

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