Jasper County Guardsman supports humanitarian mission in Guatemala

By Capt. Michelle Matthews

COBAN, Guatemala - An Oronogo Soldier has deployed with the Missouri National to support the Beyond the Horizon 2012 exercise in Guatemala.

Pfc. Micah Leach, who serves with the 294th Engineer Company, is one of hundreds of Citizen-Soldiers who are building and repairing schools and hospitals in Guatemala.

"I understand how important our efforts are here in this community," Leach said. "We are improving the school, the schools soccer field and I am also learning from our Guatemalan counterparts. We have met with many of the local community members and I feel we are building great

As part of the mission, Leach said he is learning how to pour concrete, which he has never done before.

The mission, led by Task Force Arriero commander Lt. Col. John Findley, is to provide the new construction of at least one school and a clinic, as well as a roof replacement on a clinic, and a bathroom renovation at another clinic by July. The Missouri Guard also will work with the Reserves and Air Force on three medical and dental readiness training exercises, where citizens of Guatemala will receive free health care.

Beyond the Horizon is a U.S. Southern Command-sponsored, U.S. Army South-conducted joint military and humanitarian exercise. The Missouri National Guard will remain in Guatemala until mid-July when the construction projects and medical readiness missions will conclude.

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