Official US Navy photo by
Journalist 2nd Class Brian Brannon
Los Limones, Chinandega, Nicaragua (March 8, 2005)
-- Captain Michael O?Connor uses a stethoscope to
listen for abnormal breath sounds from a young
Nicaraguan boy during a physical examination. Over
10 days, a Navy Operational Health Support Unit will
treat up to 5,000 people at three different sites
throughout rural Chinandega, Nicaragua as part of
New Horizons 2005. New Horizons is a joint-combined
services engineering and humanitarian aid mission
that will see the construction of four schools and
two medical clinics in Nicaragua.
Los Limones, Chinandega, Nicaragua – (March 7, 2005) A U.S.
Navy-led joint forces medical team saw nearly 300 villagers
on the opening day of the Medical Readiness Training
Exercise (MEDRETE) in the rural Nicaraguan state of
MEDRETE provides basic medical consultation and care
including preventive medicine, optometry, women’s, pediatric
and family health to people throughout Central and South
America as part of the larger humanitarian and civil
assistance exercise New Horizons 2005.
U.S. Army ambulance teams augmented the Navy Reserve health
care professionals who treated a variety of ailments
including minor aches and pains, coughing and allergies.
When a more serious problem was presented, such as the
ten-month old girl with Down Syndrome and a heart condition,
the patient was referred to the Nicaraguan doctors or
international health community.
During MEDRETEs, optometry often has the ability to give
clear vision to someone who has not been unable to see well
in years. Today, an 85-year old man who formerly herded
cattle received a pair of glasses that he said he had always
“What you’re doing here is a godsend,” he said. “Even the
local doctor cannot do for us what you are doing.”
The 15-person Navy team consisted of providers, nurses,
physician assistants, pharmacists and corpsmen. Force
protection for the exercise was provided by U.S. and
Nicaraguan army soldiers. A Marine Corps civil affairs team
helped with several logistics arrangements at the school
where the MEDRETE will work for three consecutive days
before moving to another site.
Navy Cmdr. (Nurse Corps) Lucy Schallmoser commented on the
abundance of pain-related ailments: “Most people in rural
Nicaragua engage in very strenuous, hard labor like cutting
sugar cane, so we try to provide them with temporary relief
with medication, as well as talk about preventative
techniques to help them in the future.”
The Navy MEDRETE will conduct operations at three sites
during their two-week annual training. The Army and the Air
Force will provide the follow-on teams, which will continue
the work through mid-May.
New Horizons is a joint-combined services engineering and
humanitarian aid mission that will see the construction of
four schools and two medical clinics in Nicaragua. This is
the fifth New Horizons exercise held in Nicaragua. The goal
of the exercise is to improve the quality of life of remote
communities while also providing joint military training