Monday, October 13, 2008

Celebrating the Navy's Birthday - USS Kearsarge edition

Continuing Promise Medical Team Hard at Work in Dominican RepublicStory Number: NNS081012-05Release Date: 10/12/2008 1:44:00 AM
By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class William S. Parker

BAYAGUANA, Dominican Republic (NNS) -- The joint-military, multinational medical team currently embarked aboard USS Kearsarge (LHD 3) is working with host nation medical personnel to treat residents in remote areas of the country in support of the humanitarian/civic assistance mission Continuing Promise (CP) 2008.

The multinational team from Kearsarge, which includes personnel from the United States, Canada, Brazil, France and the Netherlands, worked with the Dominicans to administer general, eye and dental examinations to local patients in need.

The host nation personnel include firefighters, National Guard, Army dentists, Army nurses and an Army optometrist to assist in the mission.

"I feel lucky to be a part of the partnership going on here between us and the Dominican Republic," said Canadian Air Force Capt. Jolene Cook, a physician currently attached to the Kearsarge. "It was an excellent opportunity for us to interact, and it's making the operation run a lot more smoothly."

The Dominican locals assisted the medical team with processing, translation and medical expertise. Participants said the combined efforts have led to an overall success so far in the operation in Bayaguana.

"It's fabulous to be working with the host nation to solve a common problem, to reduce health disparities within the country," said U.S. Public Health Service Capt. Jose Belardo. "We are going to do everything we can for the people of Bayaguana, from performing general medical exams to improving hygiene."

Kearsarge's mission during CP 2008 is to conduct joint civil-military operations including humanitarian and civic assistance, as well as providing veterinary, medical, dental and civil engineering support to six partner nations and to send a strong message of compassion, support and commitment to Central and South America and the Caribbean.

The four-month deployment has included stops in Nicaragua and Colombia. Once it departs the Dominican Republic, Kearsarge will round out its mission with stops in Trinidad and Tobago and Guyana.

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 the 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.

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