Guardsmen halfway complete with Honduras projects

Friday, June 8, 2012
Soldiers in Honduras for Beyond the Horizon 2012 construct a school at the Micheletti construction site. Soldiers on the exercise's third rotation pour concrete into the exterior walls of the school. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Sarah E. Lupescu, 70th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment).

NACO, Honduras -- The Beyond the Horizons 2012 Honduras operation has passed the halfway point in the overall mission of providing humanitarian assistance to the people of Honduras.

The changes and projects are coming together by the day, most notably the engineering projects around the area.

BTH Honduras 2012 is a U.S. Army South exercise deploying military engineers and medical professionals to Honduras for training, providing engineering, medical and civic service type of humanitarian assistance to the communities.

Missouri National Guardsmen from the 35th Engineer Brigade and the 1140th Engineer Battalion out of Cape Girardeau, led by Task Force commander, Lt. Col. Robert Jones, are constructing and renovating two clinics and three schools from April to July 2012.

At Micheletti, where a school is being built, the project is more than 60 percent completed, as the engineers from the 272nd Engineer Battalion of the Texas National Guard from Angleton, Texas are working on putting the roof on before moving inside to work on things like electric, plumbing and more framing.

Sgt. 1st Class Matthew Vitale, a noncommissioned officer with the 294th Engineer Company out of Carthage, Mo. and the duration noncommissioned officer in charge of the project site, likes the work and progress his Soldiers have made over the last week.

"The unit from Texas that has come down here has just really knocked it out of the park," Vitale said. "It's nice to see some of the younger enlisted Soldiers take charge and really get involved with this project. They have been coming to me with solid ideas and suggestions and it's really been a great rotation."

Quimistan, the site of a new medical facility, is another site that is seeing significant progress, reaching 65 percent completion.

Vertical engineers from the 1223rd Engineer Company of the South Carolina National Guard out of Charleston, S.C. finished putting the roof on the facility, as well as painting the windows this past week.

They have also been working on electrical and plumbing as well as pouring the concrete for the sidewalk outside the building.

Another project nearing 60 percent completion rate is Oriente, where the finishing touches on the concrete sidewalk outside the new medical facility were finished Friday.

Another group of engineers from the 272nd is working toward finishing the roof and moving inside to start the interior work.

"I have been out to all the sites and it's so great to see the progress and different things being done to get these projects completed," Vitale said. "We have had great communication and leadership here that has allowed all the project sites to be on the same page, and talk about what has been working and what hasn't been working."

The construction at the different sites as well as the BTH 2012 mission will culminate in early July.

BTH is part of U.S. Southern Command's annual humanitarian and civic assistance program.

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