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New Horizons Panama 2010 comes to a close

METETI, Panama -- Lt. Gen. Glenn Spears, 12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern) commander, shakes hands with Airmen from the 820th Expeditionary RED HORSE Squadron during the New Horizons Panama 2010 closing ceremonies. (U.S. Air Force photo)

METETI, Panama -- Lt. Gen. Glenn Spears, 12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern) commander, shakes hands with Airmen from the 820th Expeditionary RED HORSE Squadron during the New Horizons Panama 2010 closing ceremonies. (U.S. Air Force photo)

METETI, Panama -- Kim Spears meets with schoolchidren outside the Rio Iglesia elementary school during the New Horizons Panama 2010 closing ceremonies. (U.S. Air Force photo)

METETI, Panama -- Kim Spears meets with schoolchidren outside the Rio Iglesia elementary school during the New Horizons Panama 2010 closing ceremonies. (U.S. Air Force photo)

METETI, Panama -- Lt. Gen. Glenn Spears, 12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern) commander (right), speaks with Mr. Raul Molino, Panama's Minister of Public Security, during the New Horizons Panama 2010 closing ceremonies. (U.S. Air Force photo)

METETI, Panama -- Lt. Gen. Glenn Spears, 12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern) commander (right), speaks with Mr. Raul Molino, Panama's Minister of Public Security, during the New Horizons Panama 2010 closing ceremonies. (U.S. Air Force photo)

METETI, Panama -- Lt. Gen. Glenn Spears, 12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern) commander (left), and his wife Kim present a new bookbag to a student at the Rio Iglesia Elementary School during the New Horizons Panama 2010 closing ceremonies. (U.S. Air Force photo)

METETI, Panama -- Lt. Gen. Glenn Spears, 12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern) commander (left), and his wife Kim present a new bookbag to a student at the Rio Iglesia Elementary School during the New Horizons Panama 2010 closing ceremonies. (U.S. Air Force photo)

METETI, Panama -- New Horizons Panama 2010 closed Sept. 9 at Rio Iglesia Elementary School, signifying the end of a 12-week U.S. Southern Command humanitarian assistance mission designed to improve critical infrastructure and provide free medical care at various locations throughout Panama.

Lt. Gen. Glenn Spears, 12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern), represented AFSOUTH, the lead planning agency for New Horizons. He was joined by Mr. David Gilmour, U.S. Embassy Charge d'Affaires, Mr. Raul Molino, Panama's Minister of Public Security, and other representatives of the many agencies involved in the mission.

"New Horizons is just the latest in a long line of cooperative, humanitarian efforts between the people of the United States and the people of Panama," General Spears said. "As those who participated in this exercise know, the level of effort and cooperation required to successfully complete this mission cannot be overstated. We simply could not have succeeded without our hosts."

During New Horizons more than 250 Airmen, Soldiers, Sailors and Marines participated in six construction projects and five medical missions. Engineers constructed new additions or improved existing facilities at four schools and two medical clinics in the Darien region, and medical professionals provided medical care to thousands of patients in the areas of David, Chitre, and Veraguas.

General Spears and his wife took time after the ceremony to speak with and distribute gifts to local schoolchildren. The friendly interaction illustrated the intangible benefits of missions like New Horizons.

"While these structures will remain for many years to come, our bonds of friendship will last much longer," General Spears said. "I look forward to future opportunities for our nations to work together to strengthen our personal and professional ties. Together we can build a better future for all."

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