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Marines Provide Guatemala Mission Support for Continuing Promise 2008

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Story Number: NNS080602-16
Release Date: 6/2/2008 3:20:00 PM

By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Matthew Jackson, USS Boxer Public Affairs

USS BOXER, At Sea (NNS) -- The Reserve Special Purpose Marine Corps Air-Ground Task Force (SPMAGTF) 24, embarked aboard USS Boxer (LHD 4), contributed to many operations in Guatemala May 5-17 as part of Continuing Promise (CP) 2008.

The CP deployment to the region builds on and encourages the establishment of new partnerships between and among nations, non-governmental organizations and international organizations to demonstrate the lasting bonds and shared interests among neighbors.

SPMAGTF 24 is primarily embarked aboard Boxer for transportation to Peru for exercises as part of Partnership of the Americas (POA) 2008. POA is a United States Southern Command sponsored annual maritime engagement operation to enhance multinational cooperation and strengthen partnership among navies and allied nations throughout the Americas. Partner-nation engagements include a series of theater security cooperation events such as joint training exercises, humanitarian assistance, disaster relief and maritime security operations.

During Boxer's 12 days in Guatemala, SPMAGTF 24 provided four Medium Tactical Vehicle Replacement (MTVR) transports, four CH-46E Sea Knight Helicopters, five translators, 64 Marines and one Sailor.

"SPMAGTF 24 transports allowed the Continuing Promise Seabees additional mobility on the ground to move their equipment and supplies from the ship via Landing Craft Units to the beach, then to separate worksites," said U.S. Marine Lt. Col. John Klink. "The MTVRs allowed the Seabees to focus on building and leave the driving to the Marines."

SPMAGTF MTVRs traveled more than 1,300 miles to transport troops, supplies and equipment and assisted in the completion of 12 Seabee projects in Guatemala.

According to Klink, SPMAGTF 24's Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron (HMM) 764 brought essential air-lift capability to Guatemalan operations which allowed the various medical and engineering work site professionals the ability to get ashore in an expeditious manner. The additional lift of the helicopters drastically reduced the time to transport all personnel and supplies ashore.

HMM 764 pilots flew a cumulative of 43 missions, 83 flight hours and transported 877 passengers.

Five SPMAGTF 24 interpreters translated for more than 2,250 Guatemalan medical patients seeking dental, optometric, surgical, general medical and pharmaceutical services.

Additionally, 12 of the task force's Marines volunteered for various local community relations events, where they painted and helped clean the landscape of churches and schools.

The collaborative effort displayed by Sailors and Marines is a source of pride to many as a prime example of the United States' joint interoperability and professionalism.

"The Marines and Navy are some of the best planners in the world," added Klink. "By working with Boxer we have learned how the Navy plans and operates aboard the ship and built a strong Navy and Marine Corps relationship."

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, 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, Fleet Survey Team, 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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