Thursday, July 02, 2009

U.S. Limits Contact with Honduran Military

By John J. Kruzel
American Forces Press Service

July 2, 2009 - The American military contingent in Honduras has limited its contact with Honduran forces as the U.S. government evaluates the situation in the Central American country, a Pentagon spokesman said. Roughly 600 U.S. forces are stationed at Soto Cano Air Base, Honduras, 50 miles northwest of the capital city of Tegucigalpa, where President Manuel Zelaya was removed from office earlier this week.

"Our activities have largely been postponed with the Honduran military forces while our government has a chance to evaluate the situation and determine the way ahead," Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman told reporters today.

But the U.S. forces that make up Joint Task Force Bravo, meanwhile, will continue "sustainment activities" such as flight operations from Soto Cano in support of the hospital ship USNS Comfort operating in Nicaragua.

"We have a lifesaving rescue capability there that we continue to sustain," Whitman said. "But we have limited our contact dramatically, to what I would call minimal contact, with the Honduran military as the United States continues to evaluate and make judgments about the way forward."

Whitman added that Joint Task Force Bravo continues to provide regional and interagency support in various capacities, and participates in counter-narcotic efforts.

Defense officials have underscored that U.S. forces in Honduras remain safe.

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