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US, Belizean workers lay groundwork for New Horizons construction

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Kali Gradishar
  • 12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern) Public Affairs
U.S. and Belizean workers made final preparations at construction sites in Belize March 28-30 in preparation for new facilities at four schools and one medical clinic in the country.

Construction professionals from both countries will work together at each site to build additions to the schools and hospital as part of the New Horizons Belize 2014 exercise. Preparing for this exercise has required extensive coordination from representatives of both countries.

"We've been working on this particular exercise for over a year now," said Master Sgt. Craig Hunter, New Horizons construction superintendent, responsible for coordinating with Belizean construction workers and overseeing U.S. manpower at each of the construction sites. "We've done countless hours of planning back at the unit in order to make sure we have all the materials, the tools and the contracts set up well ahead of time to make sure that once we hit the ground here in Belize we can get started with our construction projects."

It's very interesting when you consider the way we do things versus they way our partners do things, and "just communicating those differences has worked out really well for us," Hunter said. " The coordination with the Belizeans went great ... We were able to get everything that we needed. They were able to provide it. It was a great working relationship."

This exercise is a valuable opportunity to practice interoperability and knowledge sharing. It will not only be U.S. and Belizean workers learning from one another, but amongst the U.S. representatives are members of various service branches being offered the chance to train and operate in a joint environment.

U.S. Air Force, U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Army and Belizean Defense Force engineers will learn one another's building techniques and trades.

Hunter is looking forward to discovering new construction techniques to apply to future construction projects, he said.

"We're looking forward to seeing how they lay their block down here," Hunter stated. "We've heard the BDF are very's beneficial to us to see how our partner nations do things."

"The [airmen] have been gearing up for many months, and they're really excited to hit the ground and start doing some construction."

As each side learns new techniques, they will also be offered the opportunity for making new connections.

"The Marines are going to interact with the people who are going to come on site from the Belizean Defence Force," said Chief Warrant Officer 2 Patrick Robb, officer in charge of New Horizons Marines. "They're going to get to see how the Marines work, and the Marines are going to get an idea of what it's like living [and working] in Belize through the interactions they have with the people."

Airmen and Marines have already received an introduction to Belize Defence Force operations as BDF security members are providing security at each of the construction sites.

"We get along great," Robb said. "It's obvious we come from two different military worlds, but it's interesting to see how they work."

In addition to construction, the New Horizons Belize 2014 exercise will also include numerous medical readiness training exercises, or MEDRETES, throughout the country during which U.S. and Belizean medical professionals will work hand in hand providing medical care to the Belizean people and learning from one another's medical practices.

U.S. Air Force, U.S. Army, Canadian, and Belizean medical professionals will work together and share medical best practices during the MEDRETES.

The entire exercise is expected to continue through the end of June.