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New Horizons Guyana 2009 comes to a close

U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Steve Milhollin, a chief engineer, helps a Guyana Defense Force engineer make block measurements to ensure the joints in a concrete wall stay in line in Georgetown, Guyana, on July 7, 2009. U.S. airmen are participating in New Horizons Guyana, a U.S. Southern Command-sponsored annual exercise designed to strengthen ties with partner nations in Central and South America through combined quality-of-life improvement projects.    DoD photo by Airman 1st Class Perry Aston, U.S. Air Force. (Released)

GEORGETOWN, Guyana -- Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Steve Milhollin, a chief engineer, helps a Guyana Defense Force engineer make block measurements to ensure the joints in a concrete wall stay in line in Georgetown, Guyana, July 7. Airmen are participating in New Horizons Guyana, a U.S. Southern Command-sponsored annual exercise designed to strengthen ties with partner nations in Central and South America through combined quality-of-life improvement projects. (DOD photo/Airman 1st Class Perry Aston)

U.S. Air Force Capt. Dan Nguyen, with the 59th Dental Group out of Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, performs a root canal on a Guyanese woman during exercise New Horizons Guyana 2009 in Diamond, Guyana, July 20, 2009. New Horizons Guyana 2009 is a U.S. Southern Command-sponsored humanitarian event that will benefit thousands of Guyanese citizens in Georgetown and outlying areas. (DoD photo by Airman 1st Class Perry Aston, U.S. Air Force/Released)

GEORGETOWN, Guyana -- Air Force Capt. Dan Nguyen, with the 59th Dental Group out of Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, performs a root canal on a Guyanese woman during exercise New Horizons Guyana 2009 in Diamond, Guyana, July 20. New Horizons Guyana 2009 is a U.S. Southern Command-sponsored humanitarian event that will benefit thousands of Guyanese citizens in Georgetown and outlying areas. (DoD photo/Airman 1st Class Perry Aston)

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Kevin Dillon, a structures technician with the 910th Civil Engineering Squadron out of Youngstown Air Reserve Station, Ohio, cuts a block during a construction project in Georgetown, Guyana, July 7, 2009, as part of New Horizons Guyana. The U.S. Southern Command-sponsored humanitarian event is intended to benefit thousands of Guyanese in Georgetown and its outlying areas. (DoD photo by Airman 1st Class Perry Aston, U.S. Air Force/Released)

GEORGETOWN, Guyana -- Air Force Tech. Sgt. Kevin Dillon, a structures technician with the 910th Civil Engineering Squadron out of Youngstown Air Reserve Station, Ohio, cuts a block during a construction project in Georgetown, Guyana, July 7, as part of New Horizons Guyana. The U.S. Southern Command-sponsored humanitarian event is intended to benefit thousands of Guyanese in Georgetown and its outlying areas. (DOD photo/Airman 1st Class Perry Aston)

Staff Sgt. Joel Herrera-Ramos, a structural craftsman with the 555th Red Horse Squadron, from Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., installs a metal roof on the Bel-Air School in Georgetown, Guyana, on July 21, 2009. U.S. airmen are deployed to build the school as part of New Horizons Guyana. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Perry Aston) (Released)

GEORGETOWN, Guyana -- Staff Sgt. Joel Herrera-Ramos, a structural craftsman with the 555th Red Horse Squadron, from Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., installs a metal roof on the Bel-Air School in Georgetown, Guyana, July 21. Airmen are deployed to build the school as part of New Horizons Guyana. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Perry Aston)

Lt. Col. Mark Packer, neuro-otologist from the 59th Medical Wing at Wilford Hall, Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, prepares the patient for surgery Aug 6, 2009, at the Georgetown Public Hospital in Georgetown, Guyana. Lt. Col. Packer is one of the sub-specialists for medical conditions of the ear, nose and throat that deployed here to provide free medical care to the Guyanese citizens.(U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Perry Aston) (Released)

GEORGETOWN, Guyana -- Lt. Col. Mark Packer, neuro-otologist from the 59th Medical Wing at Wilford Hall, Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, prepares the patient for surgery Aug 6 at the Georgetown Public Hospital in Georgetown, Guyana. Colonel Packer is one of the sub-specialists for medical conditions of the ear, nose and throat that deployed here to provide free medical care to the Guyanese citizens.(U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Perry Aston)

Capt. Johnny Foster, audiologist from the 59th Medical Wing at Wilford Hall, Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, uses a tympanometer to measure a Guyanese boy's eardrums Aug 11, 2009, at the Georgetown Public Hospital in Georgetown, Guyana. Ear, Nose, and Throat doctors deployed here wil see more than 500 patients in 8 days. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Perry Aston) (Released)

GEORGETOWN, Guyana -- Capt. Johnny Foster, audiologist from the 59th Medical Wing at Wilford Hall, Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, uses a tympanometer to measure a Guyanese boy's eardrums Aug 11 at the Georgetown Public Hospital in Georgetown, Guyana. Ear, nose and throat doctors deployed here wil see more than 500 patients in eight days. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Perry Aston)

Col. Douglas Galipeau, 474th Air Expeditionary Group Commander speaks with Soldiers from the Georgia Army National Guard, Aug 20, 2009 at a new Medical Clinic in Georgetown, Guyana. Col. Galipeau visited two Medical Readiness and Training Exercises, one Dental Readiness and Training Exercise, an orphanage, and two construction projects all part of New Horizons Guyana. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Perry Aston) (Released)

GEORGETOWN, Guyana -- Col. Douglas Galipeau, 474th Air Expeditionary Group commander, speaks with Soldiers from the Georgia Army National Guard, Aug 20 at a new medical clinic in Georgetown, Guyana. Colonel Galipeau visited two medical readiness and training exercises, one dental readiness and training exercise, an orphanage and two construction projects-- all part of New Horizons Guyana. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Perry Aston)

GEORGETOWN, Guyana -- U.S. Air Force, Army, Marine and Navy servicemembers here have completed New Horizons Guyana 2009, a U.S. Southern Command-sponsored humanitarian event for the benefit of thousands of Guyanese in Georgetown and the outlying areas.

Since late May, a rotating task force of approximately 650 active duty, Reserve and Guard from the Air Force, Marines, Army and Navy constructed one school and one medical clinic, renovated another school and provided medical and dental assistance. The schools now have classrooms and playground equipment and the new clinic has four examination rooms and a waiting room.

Lt. Col. Patrick Keenan said none of this would have been possible without the hard work and dedication of the deployed military members.

"Our servicemen and women have done an outstanding job constructing facilities and caring for the health needs of the people of Guyana," said Lt. Col. Patrick Keenan, Joint Task Force New Horizons commander. "More importantly, they have built friendships with our partners here that will leave a lasting impression on the community for years to come."

The New Horizons construction crews working on the Bel Air Nursery School, finished their project two weeks ahead of schedule. The 555th Rapid Engineer Deployable Heavy Operational Repair Squadron Engineer (RED HORSE) Squadron from Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. and the 910th Civil Engineer Squadron from Youngstown, Ohio not only constructed the school building, but also volunteered their time to play with the children at the local orphanages.

Soldiers from 876th and 878th Engineering Battalions of the Georgia Army National Guard supported the New Horizons mission by constructing a clinic in La Penitence. The clinic, built by 185 Soldiers alongside their counterparts from the Guyana Defense Force, cost $370,000 and will serve the local community's medical needs.

A task force of Airmen on two-week rotations from the 301st Fighter Wing Civil Engineer Squadron at Carswell Field, Texas, renovated Timehri Nursery School for children ages four and five. The crews installed four playground sets, constructed 200 feet of fence, and installed a 400-gallon storage tank with a backup pump so the nursery can have running water, along with many other repairs and paint applied to the building.

"The hard work and goodwill fostered by our servicemembers went above and beyond my expectations," said Colonel Keenan.

The facilities are long-term quality-of-life projects, but the medical missions provided much needed care for the people of Georgetown and outlying areas. Medical teams from the Air Force and Navy Reserve treated more than 18,000 Guyanese in several towns including Corriverton, Timehri and Diamond. The teams provided general medical care and diagnosis, dental check-ups and extractions, eye exams, pharmaceutical prescriptions and public health lessons.

The Reservists came from all around the United States for the medical and dental missions. Air Force medical teams primarily from the 940th Aerospace Medicine Flight at Beale Air Force Base, Calif., and the 59th Medical Wing at Wilford Hall, Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, treated patients in Georgetown, Corriverton and Timehri. Air Force dental teams from the 59th Dental Group from Lackland, saw patients at Diamond Secondary School in Diamond. The Navy medical team from Operational Health Support Unit-Great Lakes, Ill., one of only two Reserve Field Units in the entire Navy, treated patients in Linden. The leftover medical supplies from the medical missions have been stocked in the newly constructed medical clinics or donated to Guyana's Ministry of Health to continue to help the Guyanese people.

New Horizons ensured the medical clinics and schoolhouses were ready for immediate and long-term use.

New Horizons is a long-running, long-term SOUTHCOM-sponsored program that annually provides humanitarian assistance to countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. The New Horizons projects create a unique opportunity for the U.S. and partnering nations to work side-by-side to refine skills of their military's engineers, medical personnel and support staff through quality-of-life activities. For New Horizons Guyana, the Air Force, Marines, Navy and Army worked closely with Guyana's Ministry of Defense, Ministry of Health, to complete the humanitarian mission.

"New Horizons is just an example of our steadfast commitment to continued cooperation and teamwork with our partner nations throughout South America," said Marine Master Gunnery Sgt. Artis Weaver, Senior Enlisted Advisor, 474th Air Expeditionary Group, Det. 4. "We've created some strong bonds through teamwork and friendships that we'll always remember."

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