Progress in Nicaragua Witnessed Firsthand

Continuing Promise (CP) 2008 Mission Commander toured all medical and engineering mission sites Aug. 15 to oversee and evaluate progress, as well as the welfare of the Nicaraguan people the CP team is here to assist.

Embarked onboard USS Kearsarge (LHD 3), Capt. Fernandez “Frank” Ponds and his staff coordinate and direct Continuing Promise resources and efforts to maximize the positive impact of this four-month humanitarian deployment to the Southern Command area of responsibility.

“It’s wonderful. The people are really taking us in and supporting us in what we are trying to do,” said Ponds. “The teams are working hard because this mission is one that touches their hearts.”

The tour began at Nancy Bach Memorial Hospital where Ponds looked over the terrain and discussed the idea of the engineering team installing a drainage system to help control the damaging effects of flood waters during large storms.

“The storms can be very unpredictable in this region,” said Air Force Master Sgt. Robert Chandler, on-site engineering project manager. “Drainage systems are very efficient at reducing potential flood waters, protecting people and housing.”

After hurricane Felix ravaged region in 2007, a lot of the infrastructure was damaged leaving areas like Municipal Park, once populated with playing children playing, in poor condition.

“Municipal Park is going to be filled with the laughter of children once again,” said Ponds. “This is a big project and meaningful to this community. This community relation project gives all who participate a warm feeling inside.”

The tour continued on to the medical clinic at Juan Comenius High School where joint and international military service members and non-governmental organizations, were working in cooperation by providing humanitarian assistance in the form of medical care to the local residents.

“Everybody is working together and working hard to make this mission a success,” said Interior Communications Technician 3rd Class James Thomas. “I am proud to be a part of this operation.”

Finally, Ponds held a small closing ceremony in Tuapi, presenting a plaque on behalf of the CP team to Auxilio Felix, health services leader in the community, and distributing food donations from Project Handclasp, a Navy program that regularly teams with ships to transport donated goods to people around the world.

Kearsarge’s humanitarian and civic-assistance (HCA) mission in Nicaragua exemplifies the United State’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 interest.

When Kearsarge departs from Nicaragua they will move forward with the Continuing Promise mission to Panama, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Trinidad and Tobago and Guyana.

Kearsarge is currently 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 region and interact with partner nation navies to shape maritime environment.

The Continuing Promise Caribbean Phase is the second of two HCA deployments to the Southern Command area of focus for 2008. The first Continuing Promise deployment was conducted by USS Boxer (LHD 4) in the Pacific.

William S. Parker (NNS)

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One Response to “Progress in Nicaragua Witnessed Firsthand”

  1. Nicaragua » PQFTL Opens Branches in Nine main Cities of Pakistan - Pakistan News Service Says:

    […] Progress in Nicaragua Witnessed FirsthandKearsarge’s humanitarian and civic-assistance (HCA) mission in Nicaragua exemplifies the United State’s maritime strategy which emphasizes deploying forces to build confidence and trust among nations through collective maritime security … […]

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