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News | Dec. 17, 2021

U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers support Guatemala, U.S. government efforts

By Maria Pinel Joint Task Force-Bravo Public Affairs

U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers with Joint Task Force-Bravo deployed to Guatemala as part of Civil Affairs Teams 4741, 4742 and 4743 to support humanitarian assistance projects and strengthen partnerships in the region.

Each team is comprised of an officer in charge, who is the primary planner, a team sergeant who manages daily operations, a noncommissioned officer who tracks the submissions for humanitarian assistance projects, and a team medic who engages with regional medical partners.

Through different projects, community engagements and partnerships, the teams are able to conduct operations that have a direct impact on the Guatemalan people as well as the United States. One of those projects has granted access to clean water for more than 100,000 families.

“Many of the regions we support are made of rural communities and communities of indigenous Guatemalan decent. Many of these communities do not have regular access to clean drinking water or medical services,” said U.S. Army Major Paul Brandon, Team Leader. “The partnerships we create with military and local government officials help us identify needs and gain access to these rural areas to nominate projects that provide life-saving assistance, and ensure that necessary items such as water filters and medical supplies, make it directly to the hands of the Guatemalans who need them most.”

Through the U.S. Southern Command’s Humanitarian Assistance Project, the Soldiers were able to provide water filtration systems that will allow receiving communities to have safe drinking water for the next two years, ensuring a healthier and safer population.   

Assistance by the Civil Affairs teams also played a role in strengthening partner nation capacities by training 725 first responders in humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations so they can more effectively respond.

“Sharing information and best practices is key to enabling our Guatemalan partners to be self-sufficient and effectively use available resources. These delicate partnerships allow the mitigation of threats to the U.S. and to meaningfully show our support to the Guatemalan people,” said Brandon.

Collectively, the teams conducted over 300 missions in 2021, investing more than one million dollars in the various projects, including over 30 COVID-19 donations of personal protective supplies, 40 donations of medical supplies to local clinics, and equipment for a clinic built by the U.S. government, enabling the facility to be fully functional to receive patients in times of great need.  

As part of JTF-Bravo and the U.S. Southern Command, Civil Affairs Teams actively support operations that enhance regional security and strengthen partnerships across Central America.