Air Guard Medics Go 'Beyond the Horizon' to Help Jamaica


Staff Sgt Jordan Jonas | | Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Many Americans go to Jamaica for the pristine beaches and the reggae music. But great poverty exists just beyond the tourist attractions.

Medics with the 162nd Fighter Wing recendy spent two weeks in the other Jamaica, treating more than 3,700 local citizens in make-shift clinics during U.S. Southern Command's "Beyond the Horizon" humanitarian exercise.

They split their time among three different sites set up at schools, some of which lacked electricity.

"'Back to basics' to me means providing health care to the neediest of people - to people who really need the help and can't acquire health care on their own," said Dr. (Lt. Col.) John Murphy, an optometrist.

The care ranged from simple checkups to diagnosing severe medical problems, pulling teeth and dispensing eye wear.

U.S. Southern Command launched Beyond the Horizon in 2008 as a new concept bom from the 1980s New Horizon initiative.

The exercise is scheduled to last several months and will involve Guard and Reserve units deploying to Columbia, the Dominican Republic and Jamaica.

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