Safety is top priority for Soldiers participating in beyond the horizon exercise

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

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

Sgt. Sarah E. Lupescu
ngmo.pao@us.army.mil

ORIENTE, Honduras - When you are in the U.S. military, you never know where Uncle Sam might send you. For some National Guard and Reserve units, Soldiers have found themselves working on construction sites in Honduras for the Beyond the Horizon 2012 exercise.

Safety on the work site is always a concern. Service members building a medical clinic at the Oriente construction site frequently face temperatures in the upper 90s with high humidity levels. The hot and humid climate creates an additional safety concern.

"It's my job to make sure the Soldiers are safe," said Sgt. Mario Astor, the safety noncommissioned officer at the Oriente construction site and member of the 758th Engineer Company, 841st Engineer Battalion, 926th Engineer Brigade of Miami, Fla. "Every 30 minutes I make sure everyone takes a minute to drink water. I also monitor the Soldiers to make sure they're drinking water in-between the 30-minute intervals."

The construction site's project manager also monitors the Soldiers to help keep them safe and hydrated.

"Every one takes a mandatory break in the morning and at lunch," said Sgt. Ryan Bollinger, the project manager and a member of the Missouri Army National Guard's 880th Engineer Team.

Service members on the construction site are also required to wear eye protection, gloves, and a hard hat to help prevent possible injuries.

Many of the military members rotate in and out of Honduras every two weeks. Efforts made by all of the rotations have contributed to the success of staying on schedule.

"This week we're pouring concrete into the building's exterior walls," Bollinger said. "Some of our next steps will include putting up the roof trusses and pouring sidewalks around the building."

For many of the service members, the BTH exercise is their two-week annual training requirement.

"You can't get any better training than this," Bollinger said. "This type of training allows Soldiers to put their skills and knowledge to work. It's also an opportunity for them to learn about a different culture by being in it."

Beyond the Horizon Honduras allows U.S. military personnel and units to sharpen their occupational skills and practice deployment and redeployments. In addition, BTH trains Soldiers and partner nation forces to be better prepared to respond to future challenges, while bringing lasting benefits to our partner nations and their people.

Some Soldiers speak Spanish, so they are able to communicate with the local people.

"They are grateful to us for what we're doing," Astor said. "They're very happy that we are here."

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

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


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