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    Hospital Addition is a Win-win for U.S. Military and Belize

    Hospital Addition is a Win-Win for U.S. Military and Belize

    Photo By Sgt. Nathaniel Free | True to their motto, the Belize Defense Force worked “shoulder to shoulder” with...... read more read more



    Story by Spc. Nathaniel Free 

    128th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

    BELMOPAN, Belize – Two new structures have recently appeared at the Western Regional Hospital in the capital city of Belize, one of five locations to undergo a series of renovations and expansions as part of Beyond the Horizon 2017, a U.S. Army South training exercise in partnership with the Government of Belize.

    The largest addition to the hospital, painted the same two-tone pink-and-coral, is an extension to the emergency room. The other structure, located at the back of the property, will house two new medical waste incinerators. Since the projects were ahead of schedule, the hospital’s administration approached the U.S. military about the possibility of an extra training opportunity, not part of the original plan.

    On May 27, 2017, the Belize Defense Force, true to their motto, worked “shoulder to shoulder” with U.S. military members and a number of local volunteers to systematically clear out a dozen or more trees, expanding the parking lot and opening a new entrance for the hospital on the main road. Branches and stumps were loaded into dump trucks and transported off site for the locals to use the wood.

    “After we clear out these trees we’ve got to remove the stumps, take them out by the roots, so we can flatten out the land to make a bigger parking lot for the hospital,” said Marine Lance Cpl. Enricque Arroyo, a member of Bridge Company C, 6th Engineer Support Battalion, from Memphis, Tennessee.

    “This is AT for us,” Arroyo said.

    Annual training, or AT, is a yearly exercise conducted by reserve components of the United States military, designed to help soldiers stay proficient at their jobs, as well as learn new skills.

    “As far as the Marine Corps goes, I’m a heavy equipment mechanic, so I just repair stuff like backhoes,” said Arroyo. “In the civilian world I repair hydraulic cylinders, so it’s very different for me. We’re doing a lot of construction. We’re clearing trees and building an addition to a hospital, expanding their ER so they’ll have a lot more room to bring in patients.”

    Like many other military members involved with Beyond the Horizon, this is more than just training for Arroyo.

    “I think it’s a very good thing that we’re doing out here,” he said. “It’s always a good thing to help people.”

    This is exactly what the Air Force’s Prime Base Engineer Emergency Force has been trained for. They are a rapidly deployable, specialized civil engineer unit, and parking lots is what they do best.

    “The whole scope of being a dirt boy is asphalt, concrete and fencing, and all that involves heavy equipment,” said Air Force Sr. Airman Adam Vandermolen, assigned to the 434th Air Refueling Wing, from Grissom Air Reserve Base, Indiana. “We mostly do a lot of concrete work with runways. I’m a Prime BEEF so we do a lot of base maintenance. Concrete, asphalt, all your horizontal engineering stuff.”

    The end goal for the Air Force “dirt boys” is a parking lot big enough to accommodate the hospital’s daily traffic.

    “From the U.S. military standpoint, this is a win-win,” said Lt. Col. Robert Ramsey, Senior Defense Official of the U.S. Military Liaison Office in Belize. “A win for us and it’s a win for the government and population of Belize. We view this as a training exercise.”

    The five separate projects of Beyond the Horizon 2017 provide military construction engineers with the opportunity to rapidly deploy with their equipment and build something that is within their military occupation specialty, Ramsey explained.

    “This is something that the Belizeans will use for decades and generations to come,” he said. “We get the training value, and they get a new emergency room.”



    Date Taken: 05.27.2017
    Date Posted: 06.03.2017 22:46
    Story ID: 236230
    Location: BELMOPAN, BZ 

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