The Navy is set to kick off a two-month humanitarian and civic assistance deployment to five countries in the U.S. Southern Command’s area of responsibility as part of the United States’ continued commitment to fostering goodwill and improving interoperability throughout the region.

More than 100 personnel aboard the USNS Burlington, an expeditionary fast-transport vessel, will deploy next week as part of Continuing Promise, an annual series of civic engagements led by U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command.  

This year’s deployment includes missions in Jamaica, Costa Rica, Honduras, Colombia and Panama under the theme “Forward Together.” 

“This is our shared neighborhood,” said Navy Rear Adm. Jim Aiken, commander of the U.S. 4th Fleet and U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command, in previewing the deployment today.  

“We have friends, and we have partners, and we enjoy that side-by-side [relationship] that we have with each and every one of them,” he said. “We learn from them, and they learn from us.” 

This year marks the 14th iteration of the Continuing Promise mission series, which has continued to strengthen ties between the U.S. and countries throughout the region. 

The mission is part of Southcom’s Enduring Promise initiative, which aims to build friendship and solidarity with partners and allies in the Caribbean and Central and South America.

As part of the Continuing Promise deployments, U.S. personnel extend medical and veterinary services to local communities, conduct subject-matter exchanges and engineering projects, and host community events and band performances.  

U.S. Navy medical personnel, construction experts, and musicians will deploy this year alongside Army veterinarians and professionals in the State Department-led Women, Peace and Security program to continue the tradition of extending goodwill. 

“Both numerically and qualitatively, Continuing Promise has been one of the most impactful humanitarian missions in the U.S. Navy’s history, said Navy Lt. Cmdr. Zachary Smith, the mission commander for Continuing Promise 2024. “The mission is a symbol of our long-standing commitment to the nations and people of Latin America and the Caribbean.”  

Smith noted that the U.S. has delivered on that promise by working closely with partner countries to deliver more than 600,000 medical treatments, over 7,000 surgeries, and countless constructions projects and community engagements since the Continuing Promise mission began in 2007.  

“Previous iterations of the mission have been extremely successful,” he said. “And we anticipate making just as much of an impact this year.”  

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