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Soto Cano launches damage assessment team to Belize

Soldiers and Airmen from Joint Task Force-Bravo here board an awaiting helicopter for the flight to Belize.  Approximately 25 Airmen and Soldiers from Soto Cano Air Base left Honduras to assess the damage caused by Hurricane Dean in Belize and assist Belize in recovery efforts.  U.S. Air Force photo by Martin Chahin.

Soldiers and Airmen from Joint Task Force-Bravo here board an awaiting helicopter for the flight to Belize. Approximately 25 Airmen and Soldiers from Soto Cano Air Base left Honduras to assess the damage caused by Hurricane Dean in Belize and assist Belize in recovery efforts. U.S. Air Force photo by Martin Chahin.

SOTO CANO AIR BASE, Honduras ? Air Force Capt. Kenya Colon loads water for deploying troops onto a CH-47 Chinook helicopter Aug. 21.  Approximately 25 Airmen and Soldiers from Soto Cano Air Base left Honduras to assess the damage caused by Hurricane Dean in Belize and assist Belize in recovery efforts.  U.S. Air Force photo by Martin Chahin.

SOTO CANO AIR BASE, Honduras -- Air Force Capt. Kenya Colon loads water for deploying troops onto a CH-47 Chinook helicopter Aug. 21. Approximately 25 Airmen and Soldiers from Soto Cano Air Base left Honduras to assess the damage caused by Hurricane Dean in Belize and assist Belize in recovery efforts. U.S. Air Force photo by Martin Chahin.

SOTO CANO AIR BASE, Honduras - Members of the 1st Battalion 228th Aviation Regiment here load equipment onto a CH-47 Chinook helicopter Aug. 21.  Approximately 25 Airmen and Soldiers from Soto Cano Air Base left Honduras to assess the damage caused by Hurricane Dean in Belize and assist Belize in recovery efforts.  U.S. Air Force photo by Martin Chahin.

SOTO CANO AIR BASE, Honduras - Members of the 1st Battalion 228th Aviation Regiment here load equipment onto a CH-47 Chinook helicopter Aug. 21. Approximately 25 Airmen and Soldiers from Soto Cano Air Base left Honduras to assess the damage caused by Hurricane Dean in Belize and assist Belize in recovery efforts. U.S. Air Force photo by Martin Chahin.

Air Force Lt. Col. Randall Vogel loads meals ready to eat onto a CH-47 Chinook helicopter Aug. 21 for troops deploying from Honduras.  Approximately 25 Airmen and Soldiers from Soto Cano Air Base left Honduras to assess the damage caused by Hurricane Dean in Belize and assist Belize in recovery efforts.  U.S. Air Force photo by Martin Chahin.

Air Force Lt. Col. Randall Vogel loads meals ready to eat onto a CH-47 Chinook helicopter Aug. 21 for troops deploying from Honduras. Approximately 25 Airmen and Soldiers from Soto Cano Air Base left Honduras to assess the damage caused by Hurricane Dean in Belize and assist Belize in recovery efforts. U.S. Air Force photo by Martin Chahin.

SOTO CANO AIR BASE, Honduras ? Air Force Capt. Kenya Colon and Army Sgt. 1st Class Sean Nichols load bags of gear onto an awaiting CH-47 Chinook helicopter Aug. 21.  Approximately 25 Airmen and Soldiers from Soto Cano Air Base left Honduras Aug. 21 to assess the damage caused by Hurricane Dean in Belize and assist Belize in recovery efforts.  U.S. Air Force photo by Martin Chahin.

SOTO CANO AIR BASE, Honduras -- Air Force Capt. Kenya Colon and Army Sgt. 1st Class Sean Nichols load bags of gear onto an awaiting CH-47 Chinook helicopter Aug. 21. Approximately 25 Airmen and Soldiers from Soto Cano Air Base left Honduras Aug. 21 to assess the damage caused by Hurricane Dean in Belize and assist Belize in recovery efforts. U.S. Air Force photo by Martin Chahin.

SOTO CANO AIR BASE, Honduras -- SOTO CANO AIR BASE, Honduras - Approximately 25 Airmen and Soldiers from Joint Task Force-Bravo here deployed to Belize Aug. 21 to assess the damage caused by Hurricane Dean. 

The Soto Cano assessment team is bringing multiple personnel to evaluate the amount of assistance needed from U.S. forces including search and rescue, medical, engineering and communications troops. 

"Joint Task Force-Bravo has the capability to provide everything from airlift assets to medical expertise to simple manpower to help move debris," said assessment team commander Army Maj. Michael Angell. "Our job is to take a look at the damage and evaluate what assets we have that Belize needs right now." 

The assessment team left Soto Cano within three hours of receiving orders to deploy from U.S. Southern Command. 

"We've been monitoring the progress of Hurricane Dean for quite a while now," said Lt. Col. Howard Jones, Joint Task Force-Bravo deputy commander. "In natural disasters like this, each minute counts, so we created a plan in advance to enable us to respond quickly." 

The assessment team will provide initial relief to the people of Belize and continue operations as long as they are needed.

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