News: Vice chief of National Guard Bureau visits BTH-Panama 2013
Story by Capt. Sarah Harris
COLON, Panama – The Vice Chief of the National Guard Bureau, Lt. Gen. Joseph L. Lengyel, visited Army and Air Force personnel participating in Beyond the Horizon-Panama 2013 here, May 22.
Lengyel met with service members of various National Guard units serving in support roles for Task Force Panama who have been working on engineering projects for local Panamanian villages. He saw firsthand the progress of the sites and the benefit these projects have had on the local communities.
“I think this is a mutually beneficial exercise. We grow the friendship and the partnership [with the country of Panama] long-term and everybody wins,” said Lengyel. “I think everyone involved has got to be incredibly proud of their work.”
At the Escobal clinic site, members of the 200th and 203rd Rapid Engineer Deployable Heavy Operational Repair Squadron Engineers, Air Force National Guard units out of Mansfield, Ohio and Virginia Beach, Va., continued the construction of a new health center and dormitory. They are also working to complete renovations on the existing clinic.
“The general’s visit is a great opportunity for our unit to show our higher leadership the hard work we are doing,” said Maj. Jeffrey Getz, civil engineer with the 203rd REDHORSE Squadron.
Service members from all components at the project sites received accolades and coins from the general for their hard work, progress and collaborative efforts on this joint service mission.
“The joint environment makes us more effective when we work together,” said Lengyel. “Things like this, where we come out together and engage with our partners and allies to foster global relationships, are what’s important; and the hard work you’re doing here shows [that partnership] both internally and globally.”
Beyond the Horizon-Panama 2013 is a U.S. Southern Command-sponsored, U.S. Army South-led joint humanitarian and civic assistance exercise deploying service members specializing in engineering, construction and health care to provide services to communities while also receiving valuable deployment training and building cooperative relationships with the country of Panama.
Medical and engineering assistance for Beyond the Horizon-Panama 2013 continue with closing ceremonies scheduled for late June and operations ending shortly after.