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Jamaica Hosts Opening Ceremony for Continuing Promise 2015

Navy News Service

Story Number: NNS150508-36
Release Date: 5/8/2015 4:36:00 PM

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Amy Kirk, Continuing Promise 2015 Public Affairs

KINGSTON, Jamaica (NNS) -- An opening ceremony was held at the National Indoor Sports Complex May 6 to commence the visit of the Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Comfort (T-AH 20) and its crew as part of Continuing Promise 2015 (CP-15).

The event was attended by CP-15 leaders, the U.S. Ambassador to Jamaica Luis Moreno, local government officials and Comfort crew members.

Capt. Sam Hancock, CP-15 mission commander expressed that the CP-15 crew was looking forward to be working alongside their Jamaican counterparts to provide medical, dental, veterinary and engineering services to the citizens.

'Our visit provides an excellent opportunity for the CP-15 team to work with host nation professionals to share ideas, best practices and build bonds that will create lasting friendships. We are ready to get to work,' said Hancock.

Jamaica is Comfort's third mission stop on its six-month humanitarian and civic assistance mission. Hancock said he hopes the work done over the nine day visit will serve to strengthen the enduring partnership between the United States and Jamaica.

CP-15 mission personnel have set up two medical outreach sites at the National Indoor Sports Complex and the Maxfield Park Health Centre to provide no-cost medical and dental services to Jamaican citizens.

In addition to medical support, Seabees from Construction Battalion Maintenance Unit 202 will be working at three sites to make improvements to Carberry Court Special School, the Rennock Lodge All Age School, and Trench Town Primary School. They will make electrical repairs, replace roofing and plumbing, install new doors and windows and remodel a library.

More than a dozen subject matter expert exchanges (SMEE) between U.S. and Jamaican medical professionals will be held aboard the Comfort, Kingston Public Hospital and the Bustamante Children's Hospital.

Additionally, CP-15's Army veterinarian team will conduct SMEEs with the Ministry of Agriculture and the Jamaican Defence Force Canine Section.

The ship's crew has planned community relations (COMRELS) events (COMRELS) at the May Hope Valley School, the Rennock Lodge School, the Jerusalem Center orphanage and Ozanam Home, a local senior citizen's home. CP-15 members will also be competing in several friendly soccer competitions with local schools.

The relationships built and sustained through the CP-15 mission and professional and military exchanges with our host nation partners in Central and South America and the Caribbean help tremendously in humanitarian efforts and preserving peace and stability in the region.

This is the second time that the Continuing Promise mission has come to Jamaica. In April 2011, the Comfort visited Kingston during Continuing Promise 2011. Military, civilian and host nation personnel worked together then to treat more than 7,400 patients, conduct 21 SMEEs, and complete engineering and COMREL projects.

After Jamaica, the Comfort will make additional scheduled mission stops in Colombia, Dominica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama. The ship has completed mission stops in Belize and Guatemala.

Continuing Promise is a U.S. Southern Command-sponsored and U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command/U.S. 4th Fleet-conducted deployment to conduct civil-military operations including humanitarian-civil assistance, subject matter expert exchanges, medical, dental, veterinary and engineering support and disaster response to partner nations and to show the United States' continued support and commitment to Central and South America and the Caribbean.

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