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Continuing Promise Completes Medical Operations in Peru

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS080618-22
Release Date: 6/18/2008 5:14:00 PM

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Matthew Jackson, USS Boxer Public Affairs

BARRANCA, Peru (NNS) -- Sailors embarked aboard USS Boxer (LHD 4), completed the last day of medical operations at Guillermo Enrique Billinghurst school in Barranca, June 15 in support of Continuing Promise (CP) 2008.

CP is a collaborative effort between U.S. military services and Peruvian support organizations designed to forge strong partnerships that can be called upon in the event of a regional situation that requires cooperative solutions.

During one week of operations at the school in Peru, they cared for more than 800 medical patients, 125 dental patients, 200 optometry patients and distributed more than 2,500 medical prescriptions each day.

"I think our medical operations were a success," said Lt. Cmdr. Sugat Patel, officer in charge of the site. "The biggest thing was being here caring for people who needed medical care and representing the U.S. in a great way."

In all, more than 100 U.S. medical professionals joined Boxer from around the world to team with Peruvian health care providers.

Each day of operations began with lines of hundreds of people waiting to receive medical care, creating a challenge Continuing Promise's medical professionals met with open arms.

"Our biggest challenge was the inability to provide every service to every patient because the need for treatment was so high," said Patel. "But we met the challenge by providing the best care to as many patients as we could."

The ultimate goal for CP health care providers is for the partnership between the U.S. and Peru to last long after CP operations are complete.

"Being here is an intangible success, because the people are excited by our presence and appreciative of our services," added Patel. "We're humbled to have the privilege to care for people who generally don't have this kind of access."

With CP operations complete, service members now leave Latin America with strengthened partnerships, experiences and perspectives about cooperative partnerships through humanitarian operations.

"It's very rewarding to see the impact we've made on people's lives and to see the gratitude on their faces," said U.S. Coast Guard Health Services Technician 3rd Jason Labenne. "They recognize how our service to them serves us all."

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, 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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