Double Oak medic watches over Honduras mission

As the heat index rose above 110 degrees in the small town of Cofradia, Honduras, U.S. Army Reserve medics from the 441st Ground Ambulance kept a close eye on the Missouri National Guard engineers as they built a school walkway on June 28.

Pfc. Kristen Goheen, of Double Oak, and Sgt. Berta Swayzer, of Fort Worth, monitored the Soldiers for any signs of dehydration or heat-related symptoms as they moved and placed 20-pound stone blocks.

“We haven’t had anything serious,” Goheen said. “We’ve had a couple of dehydration issues, but not nearly as many as I would have expected.”

The Soldiers are in Honduras as part of U.S. Army South’s Beyond the Horizon exercise. The exercise’s mission is to train Soldiers, Airmen and Sailors on construction and medical skills, while at the same time providing humanitarian services to the local population.

The engineers, who came from the Missouri National Guard’s 1438th and 220th Engineer Companies, had previously worked on a clinic in Quimistan. There, they put the finishing touches on work previous rotations had already done. In Cofradia, the work and the heat were much more intense.

Goheen found a novel approach to ensure the Soldiers she was monitoring stayed hydrated: she worked right alongside them, keeping an eye out for any warning signs.

“If I’m helping these guys out, I’m with them and watching them closer,” Goheen said. “I’m keeping a close eye on them by working with them at all times.”

Throughout the day, people from the local community would drop in on the Soldiers.

“They’re very friendly,” Swayzer said. “They visit us, they cook for us. They’re very, very nice, very, very friendly. They even brought mangos for us.”

For both the medics, the humanitarian mission was a new experience.

“This is the first time I’ve done this kind of mission,” Swayzer said. “I would definitely do it again.”

The Beyond the Horizon-Honduras mission is scheduled to end this month.

Article from the Defense Video & Imagery Distribution System

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