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Resolute Sentinel medical personnel support ultrasound capabilities in rural Honduras

  • Published
  • 12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern)

Members of the 774th Expeditionary Operational Medical Readiness Squadron, under the command of the 474th Air Expeditionary Group, conducted an evidence-based knowledge exchange with local healthcare providers on the installation and use of a diagnostic ultrasound system in Orocuina, Honduras, June 29 as part of exercise Resolute Sentinel 22 (RS22).

Capt. Ryan Mintalar, physician assistant deployed from the 60th Operational Medical Readiness Squadron at Travis Air Force Base, California, and Master Sgt. Hugo Silva, unit medical advisor deployed from the 819th Rapid Engineer Deployable Heavy Operational Repair Squadron Engineers (819th RED HORSE Squadron or 819th RHS) at Malmstrom AFB, Montana, assessed the Orocuina medical and maternity facility’s most critical patient care requirements and identified a need for ultrasound capability.

Mintalar and Silva trained five providers to assemble and operate the diagnostic ultrasound equipment. The clinic is now able to offer patients this essential service locally rather than requiring them to travel more than 30 miles to the nearest town, providing improved care for approximately 120 prenatal visits and 20 births per month.

“This enhanced capability increases the local population’s access to healthcare in general medicine and obstetrics and is a demonstration of our partnership with and commitment to the people of Honduras.” said Mintalar. “Resolute Sentinel benefits the patients, who receive medical care that may not have otherwise been possible, and also prepares our personnel to operate in austere conditions.”

In this way, Mintalar said, the exercise is a multi-national training opportunity with real-world impact. By participating, military medical professionals increase their readiness for deployments through caring for patients in locations where treatment options are limited and build partnerships and interoperability with their counterparts overseas so they can quickly work together in times of crisis.

RS22 is a 12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern)-led U.S. Southern Command exercise that provides joint training and improved readiness of U.S. and partner nation civil engineers, medical professionals and support personnel through humanitarian assistance activities in four partner nations. RS22 will integrate combat interoperability and disaster response training in addition to construction projects and medical exchanges, training and aid.
The 774th EOMRS delivers 24/7 medical support to deployed service members participating in RS22 in addition to administering medical care to citizens in Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, and Belize alongside partner nation healthcare providers.

The squadron also provides care to personnel deployed to support engineering projects, another part of the exercise’s humanitarian assistance effort. Members of the 819th RHS are currently drilling two new water wells in Orocuina, a potentially hazardous construction project requiring medical support. Once completed, the wells will provide clean water to more than 55,000 residents of Orocuina and Choluteca, improving public health, sanitation and hygiene.

These global health engagements are two of many examples of U.S. personnel working alongside local officials to build capacity, develop community resilience and trust, and promote better health for all through RS22 – an annual exercise that reflects U.S. Southern Command’s enduring promise of friendship, partnership, and solidarity with Latin America.