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US, Dominican Republic strengthen partnerships while building hospitals

Dominican contractors fill a foundation with concrete for a new hospital in Copeyito, Dominican Republic as part of Exercise NEW HORIZONS 2016, Apr. 7, 2016. NEW HORIZONS enhances U.S. military training and readiness by giving military civil engineers an opportunity to hone their craft and train for humanitarian assistance or disaster relief situations. Members of the 820th RED HORSE Squadron, from Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, provide Quality Control and Quality Assurance during the foundation preparation. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Chenzira Mallory/Released)

Dominican contractors fill a foundation with concrete for a new hospital in Copeyito, Dominican Republic, as part of exercise New Horizons on April 7, 2016. New Horizons enhances U.S. military training and readiness by giving military civil engineers an opportunity to hone their craft and train for humanitarian assistance or disaster relief situations. Members of the 820th RED HORSE Squadron from Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, provided quality control and quality assurance during the foundation preparation. (U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. Chenzira Mallory)

Capt. Joseph Miller, 820th RED HORSE Squadron, quality control officer in charge, coordinates with a local contractor to make adjustments to a new concrete foundation for a clinic being built in Copeyito, Dominican Republic as part of Exercise NEW HORIZONS 2016, Apr. 7, 2016. NEW HORIZONS gives U.S. military members the opportunity to deploy, operate, and re-deploy while including the added benefit of working with and learning from our international partners. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Chenzira Mallory/Released)

Capt. Joseph Miller, the quality control officer in charge for the 820th RED HORSE Squadron, coordinates with a local contractor to make adjustments to a new concrete foundation for a clinic being built in Copeyito, Dominican Republic, as part of exercise New Horizons on April 7, 2016. New Horizons gives U.S. military members the opportunity to deploy, operate, and redeploy while including the added benefit of working with and learning from international partners. (U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. Chenzira Mallory)

Dominican contractors fill a foundation with concrete for a clinic being built in Copeyito, Dominican Republic as part of Exercise NEW HORIZONS 2016, Apr. 7, 2016. NEW HORIZONS provides essential training to U.S. forces and allows them to remain prepared for real-world deployments in support of contingency, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Chenzira Mallory/Released)

Dominican contractors fill a foundation with concrete for a clinic being built in Copeyito, Dominican Republic, as part of exercise New Horizons on April 7, 2016. New Horizons provides essential training to U.S. forces and allows them to remain prepared for real-world deployments in support of contingency, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations. (U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. Chenzira Mallory)

COPEYITO, Dominican Republic (AFNS) -- Through a joint training exercise, civil engineers with the 820th RED HORSE Squadron from Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, have been working together with their Dominican partners throughout April to build four clinics and a vocational school in the Maria Trinidad Sanchez Province.

Military civil engineers and medical professionals used the opportunity to train on planning, preparing, deploying and performing their jobs outside of the U.S.

“Planning for this year’s exercise started about a year ago,” said Col. Daymen Tiffany, the 506th Air Expeditionary Group commander. “We conducted planning with the Dominican government to ensure we had the locations, the sites prepared and an agreement with them on what we would do while here.”

Once U.S. Southern Command picked the Dominican Republic to host the New Horizons exercise, the Dominican government provided a prioritized list of proposed medical and constructions projects they wanted to make part of the exercise. This list was aligned with the training objectives for the U.S. civil engineers and medical professionals as well as meeting the needs of the country.

“They’ve been able to teach us some of their ways and local procedures, and we’ve been able to show them how we normally do things in the States,” said Capt. Joseph Miller, the 820th RED HORSE quality control officer in charge. “In the end we’ll get a good product that’s a mix of both methods that will be sustainable in the future for this community.”

One of the chosen locations for a new hospital is the community of Copeyito, which has 77 houses, and each house has up to seven occupants.

“There’s a need for a clinic in this area because it’s out in a relatively rural area,” Miller said. “This will provide a medical facility much closer than they currently have.”

The hospital here in Copeyito will have five patient rooms and two doctor’s quarters.

“We’re very grateful for the support (they’ve) given us,” said Juanito Martinez, a 50-year resident of Copeyito who lives in a house next door to the construction site. “We’re now able to have medical care close by us.”

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