Rear Adm. Joseph Kernan, commander, U.S. 4th Fleet, toured medical, engineering and dental humanitarian sites in Nicaragua Aug. 13 as a part of the first stop in the Caribbean Phase of Continuing Promise (CP) 2008.
CP is a collaborative effort between the United States and partner militaries, non-governmental organizations (NGO) and partner-nation support organizations to build strong relationships that can be called upon in the event of a regional situation requiring cooperative solutions.
The first stop on the tour was Nancy Bach Hospital where Kernan, along with Continuing Promise 2008 Mission Commander, Capt. Fernandez “Frank” Ponds and Capt. Walter Towns, commanding officer, USS Kearsarge (LHD 3), donated medical equipment from Project Handclasp to local hospitals.
During a ceremony, CP leadership presented a new sonogram suite to the Waspam Medical clinic while an endoscopy and EKG machine were presented to the hospital on behalf of Project Handclasp through the Partnership of the Americas.
Project Handclasp is a Navy program established in 1962 to collect and distribute donated humanitarian, educational and goodwill materials.
“We greatly appreciate everything the hospital is doing for the community and all the help they are giving us in what we are trying to do,” said Kernan.
After the ceremony, the military leaders toured all four medical mission sites to witness firsthand the efforts of the joint military medical teams.
“There are a lot of great things going on here, I believe a lot of friends have been made and a lot of lives have been blessed,” said Kernan.
USS Kearsarge is under the operational control of U.S. 4th Fleet. U.S. 4th Fleet’s mission is to direct United States naval forces operating in the Caribbean, and Central and South American regions and interact with partner nation navies to shape maritime environment.
Kearsarge’s mission is to conduct civil-military operations including humanitarian and civic assistance (HCA) to send a strong message of U.S. compassion, support and commitment to Central and South America and the Caribbean.
The CP Caribbean Phase is the second of two HCA deployments to the Southern Command area of focus for 2008. The first CP deployment was conducted by USS Boxer (LHD 4) in the Pacific.
William S. Parker (NNS)