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Operation New Horizons

Beyond the Horizon and New Horizons are U.S. Southern Command-sponsored, joint-foreign military humanitarian civic assistance exercises. During the exercises, U.S. troops work with host nation counterparts and a variety of governmental and non-governmental agencies to train in civil-military operations skill sets while providing medical and dental care and engineering support to local populations. The exercises are planned and coordinated closely with multiple agencies and host nation governments to creatively address the level and scope of medical care and engineering assistance required. U.S. Army South is the executive agent for the Beyond the Horizon exercise in El Salvador. The New Horizons exercise in Panama is led by U.S. Air Forces Southern.

In a region of scarce resources, New Horizons engineering and medical exercises have significantly benefited the people of the Caribbean, while enhancing the capabilities of US Armed Forces to deploy and train in foreign environments. During 2001, Southern Command conducted three New Horizons exercises in the Caribbean area -- Bahamas, St. Vincent, and St. Lucia. Fiscal year 2002 saw three more New Horizons exercises in Barbados, Dominica, and Jamaica.

As part of Operation New Horizons 97 a total of 3,900 National Guard and reserve soldiers were sent to the Central American country of Belize to build roads and schools and provide medical services. The six-month Joint Task Force Pelican exercise, which kicked off in January, cost at least $16 million. New Horizons-Belize was the largest United States military training, humanitarian, and civic-action training exercise in the Western Hemisphere in 1997. United States military troops from both the active and reserve components worked with the Belize Defense Force and the Ministries of Works, Education, and Health to improve roads, build eight new school buildings, and provide free medical screening and treatment for thousands of Belizeans.

The U.S. National Guard set up a troop medical clinic for the hundreds of troops involved in Operation New Horizons 1998, a US military training, humanitarian and civic-action exercise in the Central American country of Honduras. The exercise built medical clinics and schools, and distributed medicine and supplies to the rural people. Several Army National Guard units rotated through Base Camp Alpha for their two weeks of annual training.

Immediately after the hurricane, the U.S. responded with over $300 million in humanitarian assistance, providing food, medicine, emergency shelter, and agricultural assistance through the US Agency for International Development (USAID), the U.S. military, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and civilian relief workers.

The Department of Defense had invested $150 million in Central American relief operations thus far. In addition, active military forces together with Reserve and National Guard components from 45 states are scheduled to participate in Operation New Horizons 99 for several weeks at a time through August 1999. Some 23,000 National Guard and Reserve troops will rotate through the region to build 33 schools, 12 clinics, repair other key infrastructure including 52 more bridges and roads, drill 27 high capacity wells, and conduct 40 large medical outreach programs reaching between 70,000 and 100,000 patients. On any given day, some 1,200-1,300 troops were in the region.

New Horizons 2005 Haiti

New Horizons 2005 Haiti was a three-month humanitarian and civic assistance exercise sponsored by U.S. Southern Command. The task force's accomplishments over the three-month deployment included building three schools, providing more children the opportunity of education, drilling three water wells, securing new sources of fresh water and extending basic medical care, including preventive medicine for more than 15,000 people. The Medical Readiness Training Exercise teams also included veterinarians, who provided veterinary services to 2,400 animals. More than 9,000 pounds of humanitarian aid were donated to eight schools, two orphanages and a hospital in Gonaives. The task force also exceeded its assignment by setting up temporary housing for children at an orphanage in Gonaives.

Sacrifice and teamwork led to the success of New Horizons. The individual units contributing to the mission included: Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 1 from Mississippi, 400th Military Police Battalion from Maryland, 699th Construction Battalion from Puerto Rico, 640th Water Purification Battalion from the U.S. Virgin Islands, 207th Aviation Battalion from Alaska, 4th Marine Civil Affairs Group from Washington, D.C., 478th Civil Affairs Battalion from Miami, Fla., Mobile Operations Command Centers from Willow Grove, Pa., and Jacksonville, Fla. and the Medical Readiness Training Exercise staffs from the U.S. Navy, Army and Air Force.

Douglas Griffiths, U.S. Embassy deputy chief of Mission, and Rear Adm. Vinson Smith, commander, U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command, turned the last of three newly-built schoolhouses over to the people of Gonaives, Haiti in a ceremony 05 May 2005. Held at the school Lycee Des Jeunes Filles De Louis Dia Quoi, the ceremony marked the end of New Horizons 2005 Haiti.

Beyond the Horizon | New Horizons 2018

From March - August 2018, U.S. military personnel are deployed to El Salvador and Panama to conduct humanitarian civic assistance exercises. As part of the Beyond the Horizon & New Horizons exercise programs, troops specializing in engineering, construction and health care are providing services to select communities while conducting valuable deployment training and building important relationships with partner nations.

The 1,800 personnel from Combined Joint Task Force Hope provided humanitarian assistance in El Salvador as part of their training May 12 through Aug. 4. The scope of the training exercise includes the construction of two schools, as well as extensions to two existing schools and a clinic in the La Paz Department, a rural area in the southeastern part of the nation that is underdeveloped and in need of service. The medical readiness training exercise, or MEDRETE, June 28 in Centro Escolar Canton La Esperanza de Olocuilta illustrated the civil affairs effort.

New Horizons | Beyond the Horizon 2019

From May - August 2019, U.S. military personnel deployed to Guyana and Guatemala to conduct humanitarian civic assistance exercises. As part of the New Horizons and Beyond the Horizon exercise programs, troops specializing in engineering, construction and health care are providing services to select communities while conducting valuable deployment training and building important relationships with partner nations. The New Horizons exercise 2019 provides U.S. military members an opportunity to train for an overseas deployment and the logistical requirements it entails. The exercise promotes bilateral cooperation by providing opportunities for U.S. and partner nation military engineers, medical personnel and support staff to work and train side by side.

On 31 May 2019, U.S. congressman Vicente Gonzalez (D) said he met with Guatemala’s ambassador to the U.S., Manuel Espina, and that the ambassador assured his government would welcome troops. Gonzalez wrote a letter on April 16 to U.S. president Donald Trump urging him to intervene. “Guatemalan president Jimmy Morales has indicated that he would welcome the introduction of U.S. troops on Guatemala’s northern border,” Gonzalez wrote, adding that “if you want to see fewer apprehensions at the U.S.-Mexico border, I would strongly encourage you to seriously consider President Morales’ offer.”

Guatemalan Defense Minister, Luis Miguel Ralda, confirmed on 03 June 2019 that United States (U.S.) troops are already in the country, specifically in the Guatemala-Mexico border department of Huehuetenango. "The troops are already here, as has happened in the last 15 years, with programs such as ’Strong Roads’ and now [with] the one that is being developed, ‘Beyond the Horizon’," Ralda told reporters after a cabinet meeting. The number of troops or further details had not been released.



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