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Operation New Horizons

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.

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