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    A task force for a better tomorrow

    Construction at San Juan Opico

    Photo By Staff Sgt. Joseph Vine | Pfc. Anthony Lockwood, from Wichita, Kan., an electrician with the 226th Engineer...... read more read more

    SAN JUAN OPICO, EL SALVADOR

    05.17.2015

    Story by Staff Sgt. Joseph Vine 

    366th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

    SAN JUAN OPICO, El Salvador - The United States and El Salvador have a long-standing diplomatic partnership that dates back to 1863. This partnership is further strengthened by the more than one-and-a-half million Salvadorans who presently call the U.S. home and send remittance, which is a significant source of earnings for family members, back to El Salvador.

    Within the municipality of San Juan Opico, El Salvador, which has a population of approximately 75,000, the U.S. and Salvadoran militaries are currently participating in Beyond the Horizon by constructing an expansion to a clinic, which will improve the medical care to the locals who live in the 32.5-square-kilometer city.

    “Beyond the Horizon is a humanitarian assistance mission in El Salvador to build schools, clinics and also to provide medical assistance,” said Air Force Cpt. Chris Berthaume, site manager of the San Juan Opico construction site, with the 622nd Civil Engineering Flight out of Atlanta.

    “Currently we’re constructing a seven-room clinic to expand on an existing clinic here in San Juan Opico,” he said. “They will have the facilities to do consultations as well as an additional laboratory where they can run tests.”

    According to Salvadoran Army 1st Lt. Ricardo A. Morales, with the El Salvador Construction Battalion, Horizontal Company, he was looking forward to working with U.S. service members throughout the duration of the three-month exercise.

    “Every time we get help, or the United States task force support, we start working together hand-in-hand,” Morales said. “We feel blessed because we get to share our knowledge and traditions with U.S. soldiers.”

    Throughout the construction of the clinic, which has more than tens of thousands of man-hours in to it so far, both militaries are able to share their own methods and best practices with one another.

    “We’ve learned how to lay block and concrete, and a lot of different construction methods that we’re not particularly use to,” said Berthaume. “It’s been a great training mission for the construction crews that have been down here.”

    “This is my first time doing concrete work, but they are pretty skilled in it,” said Spc. Joseph Archuletta, a plumber and electrician with the 994th Engineer Company while talking about the Salvadoran service members who work at the construction site.

    “I’ve learned quite a bit, from setting the blocks in and getting them level, to getting them exactly plumb,” he said. “Precision, precision, precision.”

    “They’re pretty particular about how they do everything,” he added. “It’s kind of neat to learn from them … To see their expertise with something we really haven’t had much experience with.”

    Although things have been going smoothly for the fourth of six rotations of service members to come through who come and go every two weeks, the construction crew isn’t taking what’s to come lightly.

    “We started from where the last cycle that came through ended, and are trying to finish up what they haven’t accomplished yet,” said Archuletta. “We are currently setting the roof and getting it ready for the insulation.”

    “Finishing off the building is going to be a bit of a challenge,” said Berthaume. “It’s a lot more complicated than some of the other sites, but we’re learning. We’ll be able to figure it out and it will be a really nice product when we’re done.”

    Berthaume also stated that the building will be completely finished by June 10.

    Throughout the Beyond the Horizon exercise, which ends June 20, Task Force Northstar and Task Force San Andres will have built five school buildings and three separate restroom facilities in three locations Furthermore, BTH will have completed medical and veterinarian services in four locations for a total of 30 days.

    The countries of Canada, Brazil, Chile and Colombia are also participating in BTH and are working at multiple construction sites within the country of El Salvador.

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    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 05.17.2015
    Date Posted: 05.17.2015 21:40
    Story ID: 163597
    Location: SAN JUAN OPICO, SV 

    Web Views: 47
    Downloads: 1
    Podcast Hits: 0

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