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U.S. Public Health Service Changes Crews on Boxer During CP Mission

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS080602-19
Release Date: 6/2/2008 3:23:00 PM

By Pfc. Gisell Martinez, USS Boxer Public Affairs

USS BOXER, At Sea (NNS) -- Ten uniformed members of the U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS) Commissioned Corps, embarked aboard USS Boxer (LHD 4), began turning over to a new crew, May 30, to continue missions in support of Continuing Promise (CP) 2008.

CP is a Humanitarian Civic Assistance mission enabling both U.S. and partner-nation medical professionals to collectively address regional medical concerns and develop effective, economical solutions that can be used throughout the region.

USPHS doctors and medical service providers have spent the last month working alongside partner-nation medical professionals in both Guatemala and El Salvador, providing basic medical care, education and services to the nations' local population. USPHS brought along many different specialties to the Continuing Promise mission including doctors, dentists, optometrists, educators and other specialties.

"We are learning from our partner-nation providers as they are learning from us," said Capt. Dean Coppolla, officer in charge of the USPHS detachment aboard Boxer. "We are treating a lot of people that otherwise probably wouldn't have received the treatments that we are providing here."

USPHS brought aboard a group of 13 personnel to help support CP's mission. However, due to USPHS's operational requirements, 10 of those specialists must return to the United States. Over a span of two days, a new group of personnel arrived aboard Boxer to relieve the crew returning home.

"If I had the chance to do it all over I would," said Lt. Jill Shugart, a USPHS environmental health provider. "I hope I have the chance to do it again".

Usually working in emergency relief situations, Continuing Promise offers them the chance to train in a different environment and integrate with partner-nation healthcare providers in a mutual learning experience.

"This mission provides a lot of gratification for everyone we are treating," added Coppolla. "It also provides us a lot of gratification to be able to know we helped those areas."

The USPHS Commissioned Corps is a team of more than 6,000 public health professionals dedicated to carrying out the nation's public health promotion and disease prevention programs, while also advancing public health science. The corps fills essential public health leadership and service roles with the nation's federal government agencies and programs.

Boxer's mission exemplifies the U.S. maritime strategy which emphasizes deploying forces to build confidence and trust among nations through collective maritime security efforts that focus on common threats and mutual interests.

Embarked units and organizations aboard Boxer for CP include Amphibious Squadron 5, Fleet Surgical Team 5, U.S. Public Health Service, Project Hope, Project Handclasp, Navy Seabee Construction Battalion Maintenance Unit 303, Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 5, Helicopter Mine Countermeasures Squadron 14, Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 764, Tactical Air Control Squadron 11, Special Marine Air Ground Task Force 24, Helicopter Sea Combat Support Squadron 23, Assault Craft Unit 1, Maritime Civil Affairs Team 205 and Beach Master Unit 1.

For more news from USS Boxer, visit www.navy.mil/local/lhd4/.

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