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Theater commander visits servicemembers, sites of New Horizons Guyana 2009

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Kirsten Wicker
  • Joint Task Force Guyana Public Affairs
The men and women currently deployed here in support of New Horizons Guyana 2009 were visited Aug. 20 by Col. Douglas Galipeau, 474th Air Expeditionary Group commander, Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz.

During Colonel Galipeau's visit, he toured and visited with servicemembers working in the local area, as well as personnel operating medical and dental clinics that offer free services to thousands of Guyanese people.

"It's amazing to see all the hard work our servicemembers are doing here," said Colonel Galipeau. "They are making a great impact on the local population who are very receptive and appreciative of our work."

Colonel Gailpeau visited the site in Linden, where Navy Reserve members are caring for patients at the new Linden Public Hospital.

From there, he made his way to Diamond Secondary School, where Air Force dentists and technicians are offering free dental care.

"From this vantage point so far, I'm very impressed with everything," Colonel Galipeau said.

The colonel is confident New Horizons will leave a lasting impression on the people of Guyana.

"They have been very appreciative of our efforts," he said. "This has been very smooth and everything is going so well."

The medical team in Linden is a U.S. Navy Reserve component and most of its members hail from the Operational Health Support Unit, Great Lakes, Ill. They will see nearly 5,000 patients during their two weeks for a range of needs such as optometry, dental, general medical care and prescription issue. They are also providing preventative health briefings that cover topics from proper teeth brushing to hand washing.

"We provided a tour of everything from set up to triage and registration through patient care areas and the pharmacy," said Lt. Commander Alan Mintz, troop commander and Reservist from OHSU Great Lakes. "The colonel was able to speak with our Sailors and some of the Guyanese Defense Force helping us here, so he really got a good feel for the patient care we are providing."

The Navy team is the last medical team in a series of two-week rotations that will bring New Horizons 2009 to a close.

"This has truly been a joint mission between the Air Force and the Navy," Commander Mintz said. "We've had good support from all servicemembers here and I'm very pleased with the entire mission."

Colonel Galipeau agreed. 

"This has been the smoothest running New Horizons project I've experienced so far," said Colonel Galipeau. "Truly flawless; our servicemembers do this right."

New Horizons Guyana is a long-running, long-term Southern Command-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.