Joint Task Force Bravo
|Joint Task Force Bravo|
|Active||1983 — present|
|Part of||US Southern Command|
|Garrison/HQ||Soto Cano Air Base|
|Colonel Robert J. Harman|
Joint Task Force Bravo (JTF-B) is one of three Task Forces under United States Southern Command (USSOUTHCOM). JTF-B is headquartered at Soto Cano Air Base, Honduras (formerly known as Palmerola Air Base), located 10 miles south of the Honduran city of Comayagua.
Its official mission is described as: 'JTF-Bravo conducts joint, combined and interagency operations, and supports contingency operations throughout the assigned geographical area in order to enhance theater-wide operational security and reinforce regional cooperation.'
When the task force was first established in 1984 as Joint Task Force 11 (not to be confused with the similarly named U.S. Navy Task Force 11 during World War II), then Joint Task Force Alpha (JTF-A), JTF-B's mission was to support US forces in Central America, provide training and advisory support for the armed forces of Honduras and Guatemala, as well as at least some indirect support for the Nicaraguan Contras.
Additionally, JTF-B has provided disaster response support to various Central American countries upon request. For example, in the aftermath of Hurricane Mitch in 1998 they played a vital role in civilian search and rescue efforts as well as supporting host governments' post-disaster recovery operations. JTF-B continues to engage in Operation New Horizons that are designed to help build local infrastructure through the construction of roads, bridges, school, clinics, wells, etc. Units permanently assigned to JTF-B perform this work routinely, often in conjunction with other US military active duty, reserve, and national guard medical and engineer units that travel to Central America to assist with the MEDRETEs and New Horizons.
Other examples of humanitarian aid rendered by JTF-B include relief missions responding to Hurricane Stan in Guatemala in October 2005, Hurricane Beta and Hurricane Gamma in Honduras in November 2005, a medical mission to León, Nicaragua in September 2006 in response to widespread alcohol poisoning, and a relief effort in response to massive flooding in Colón, Panama in November 2006.
New Horizons efforts have included El Salvador, Honduras and the Dominican Republic in 2006 and Guatemala, Belize, Nicaragua, and Panama in 2007.
In August 2007 JTF Bravo dispatched teams to Peru in response to an 8.0 magnitude earthquake. JTF-B also sent a team to Belize following Hurricane Dean. In September a teams were sent to aid Honduras and Nicaragua following Hurricane Felix.
An example of multinational partnering and training is an annual airborne operation called Iguana Voladora during which JTF-B hosts military and police personnel from throughout the Western Hemisphere for a week of training and jump operations.
Recent humanitarian projects have included medical readiness exercises in the Mosquita Coast of Honduras in August 2008. In September 2008, JTF-Bravo sent a team of medical professionals to the border of Costa Rica and Panama to participate in a three-day medical readiness exercise. While in November of that year a team was dispatched to assist with flood relief in Costa Rica and Panama. In January 2009 members from JTF-B returned to Costa Rica and in conjunction with USAID assisted with relief and recovery efforts following a 6.1 magnitude earthquake.
- Joint Task Force Bravo (1984–present)
- Joint Task Force Alpha (1983-1984)
- Joint Task Force 11 (1983)
Assigned geographic area
Major subordinate commands
- Air Force Forces (AFFOR) provides administrative support to Air Force personnel assigned to the joint staff and makes up the 612th Air Base Squadron (612 ABS) which is responsible for the day-to-day operation of the U.S. portion of Soto Cano Air Base, including the maintenance and operation of a C-5 capable runway.
- Army Forces (ARFOR) provides administrative support for Army personnel assigned to the joint staff and provides a Search and Rescue (SAR) capability to JTF-B.
- Medical Element (MEDEL) provides routine and emergency health care for JTF-B personnel. MEDEL also conducts Medical Readiness Training Exercises (MEDRETEs) throughout Central America to provide a verity of medical services for the local populations. Additionally, MEDEL has a Mobile Surgical Team (MST) capable of responding to an emergency situation.
- Joint Security Force (JSF) conducts Law Enforcement and Security Operations for JTF-B personnel and equipment anywhere within the Central American AGA. A previous official description, retained via Globalsecurity.org, was that the JSF was composed of Air Force, Army and Marine force protection personnel who patrol the base and downtown areas frequented by U.S. servicemembers.
- 1st Battalion, 228th Aviation Regiment (1-228) consists of CH-47 Chinook and UH-60 Blackhawk aircraft. With these assets the 1-228 conducts general support aviation operations within the Central American AGA and the wider USSOUTHCOM Theater when required.