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New Iberia native deploys to Belize

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Kelly Ogden
  • 12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern)
A technical sergeant from New Iberia, La., has deployed to Belize in support of the U.S. Southern Command-sponsored New Horizons exercise.

Tech. Sgt. Lance Beaver, an air transportation craftsman from the 820th REDHORSE Squadron, Las Vegas, has been in the Air Force for 18 years.

Beaver has deployed to Iraq, Afghanistan and Qatar and is currently part of an elite group of engineers known as REDHORSE (Rapid Engineer Deployable Heavy Operational Repair Squadron Engineers). REDHORSE squadrons provide the Air Force with a highly-mobile civil engineering response force to support contingency and special operations worldwide. Units are self-sufficient mobile squadrons, capable of rapid response and independent operations in remote, high-threat environments worldwide.

Beaver has the enormous responsibility of coordinating cargo movements from home station to deployed and exercise locations overseas.

The sea shipment that he coordinated for the New Horizons exercise included various construction and maintenance vehicles (tractor-trailers, dump trucks, excavators, pickups, forklifts, backhoes and gas trucks) and more than 40 shipping containers.

"This is the first time we've moved everything by ship, so this experience really gave me more of an opportunity to expand my job knowledge," he said.

He has been coordinating with the Belizean government, Port of Belize officials, U.S. Transportation Command, and various military and civilian entities since last August.

Beaver, who normally works with only military personnel, said that working with the local population was rewarding and a great experience.

"Everyone has been extremely professional," he said. "It was a basically seamless transition from working for military personnel to working with the local populace in Belize."

The New Horizons exercise, which began in the mid-1980s, is an annual exercise to train military civil engineers and medical professionals to deploy and conduct joint operations. Since then, airmen and members of other services working under U.S. Southern Command have built schools, community centers, provided medical care and much more to form partnerships between the United States and Central American, South American and Caribbean nations.

Civil engineers from both the U.S. and Belize will construct five New Horizons projects: a hospital ward in Belmopan, three schools in Belize City, and one school in Hattieville. The schools will support furthering the education of children in the country

"The best part of this deployment is helping the local community and working side-by-side with the Belize Defence Force to build schools to educate children," he said.

Beaver will be in Belize until early April and will be returning in late June to assist the New Horizons team in redeploying to Las Vegas.