Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Continuing Promise Team Has Eyes on Curacao

USS Kearsarge is just past the halfway point of "Operation Continuing Promise". Here is a story of what's going on right now and there are some links at the bottom to others.

Continuing Promise Team Has Eyes on Curacao
Story Number: NNS081022-02Release Date: 10/22/2008 5:18:00 AM
By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Gina Wollman, Continuing Promise 2008 Public Affairs

WILLEMSTAD, Netherlands Antilles (NNS) -- Medical personnel from USS Kearsarge (LHD 3) conducted a two-day optometry clinic in Willemstad Oct. 20-21 in support of the humanitarian/civic assistance mission Continuing Promise (CP) 2008.

A scheduled liberty port, the CP 2008 team was proud to offer their services to the community after spending a few days of relaxing on the island."

It is great to have the opportunity to interact and treat the locals; after having liberty here and experiencing where they come from it makes it even more rewarding to help them," said Lt. Megan Rieman, an optometrist embarked aboard Kearsarge.

Despite the rainy weather, locals arrived to receive free eye exams and eye glasses. Host-nation medical personnel were grateful to the CP 2008 team for their assistance.

"We have a really good health care system on the island. Almost everyone is insured, but some of the insurance plans do not cover eye glasses," said Assistant Medical Director of Saint Elizabeth Hospital Raiza Gonenli-Pardo. "That is the reason, when we were asked what we needed help with, we immediately said optometry; you being here today is helping very much."

Country officials were also excited that the Kearsarge was willing to lend a hand in the community.

"We are delighted that the skipper and the crew of Kearsarge were willing and able to be here to help. I know this was supposed to be a rest stop for everyone, and the fact that there are still people willing to help is wonderful," said Chief of Mission/Consul General Timothy Dunn at the U.S. Consulate, Netherlands Antilles and Aruba.

"It is important to have a ship as big and beautiful as Kearsarge to come in and help the community, it not only improves the image of the Navy but it also improves the health and welfare of our towns.

"When Kearsarge departs from Curacao, it will move forward with the Continuing Promise mission to Trinidad and Tobago and Guyana.

The mission of CP is to conduct civil-military operations including humanitarian and civic assistance as well as veterinary, medical, dental and civil engineering support to six partner nations and to send a strong message of U.S. compassion, support and commitment to Central and South America and the Caribbean.

Kearsarge's mission exemplifies the United States 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.

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 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.
Here are some links to related stories
USS Kearsarge Reaches Mid-deployment of Continuing Promise Mission
Kearsarge Team Cares for More Than 16K in Dominican Republic
Here is a link to DoDLIVE. In the upper right hand corner is a list of bloggers who are accompanying USS Kearsarge along the way and writing about their experiences (like yours truly).

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