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Continuing Promise 2008 Concludes El Salvador Visit

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS080603-11
Release Date: 6/3/2008 12:36:00 PM

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Joshua Jarvis, USS Boxer Public Affairs

SONSONATE, El Salvador (NNS) -- Salvadoran officials hosted a ceremony in Sonsonate, El Salvador May 31 to commemorate the completion of USS Boxer's (LHD 4) Continuing Promise (CP) 2008 efforts in El Salvador.

CP is a collaborative effort between the United States and partner militaries, non-governmental organizations (NGO) and partner-nation support organizations to build strong partnerships that can be called upon in the event of a regional situation requiring cooperative solutions.

During the 13-day operation in El Salvador, Boxer's embarked NGOs and military units worked side-by-side with partner-nation military and civilian professionals to provide medical, dental, optometry and veterinary care along with construction, renovation and small-scale civil engineering projects.

"Our mission was to provide healthcare and construction support," said the mission commander for CP, Capt. Peter Dallman. "We were able to vastly exceed our goal because of the great support from our Salvadoran hosts."

Medical specialists from Boxer, Fleet Surgical Team (FST) 5, the U.S. Public Health Service and Project HOPE worked together with Salvadoran medical professionals to conduct nearly 4,000 dental exams and procedures, more than 1,800 optometry exams, 62 surgeries aboard Boxer, provide nearly 8,000 patients primary medical care and filled more than 19,000 prescriptions at several sites in the area.

In addition to treatment, teams also conducted classes on personal and industrial hygiene, the safe preparation of food and water, child development and infant cardio-pulmonary resuscitation.

"The appreciation from the people who were served through the medical and dental selection program was overwhelming," added Dallman. "There were lots of smiles."

Seabees assigned to Construction Battalion Maintenance Unit (CBMU) 303 and Navy Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 5 completed projects at three sites including two schools and a main-road repair. The work included major plumbing and electrical upgrages, roof replacement, fence construction, kitchen renovation, replacing doors and windows, painting and landscaping.

"The Sailors, Soldiers, Airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen who have gone out and worked at these sites have done an outstanding job throughout the mission here," said Dallman.

Other highlights during Boxer's time in El Salvador included a visit from El Salvador's President, Elias Antonio Saca, multiple visits by the U.S. Ambassador to El Salvador, Charles L. Glazer, and ship visits by senior members of the Salvadoran military.

Boxer service members also participated at various community relations projects at the Seabee sites, offering extra landscaping work and painting to the school renovations.

"El Salvador considers us welcome neighbors and great patners," said Dallman. "We look forward to future collaborations."

CP and the Boxer have now set sail to their operations in Peru, where CP service members will provide similar medical, dental and engineering support.

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.

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

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