Arkansas guardsmen deployed to Guatemala for weeklong medical mission

The entrance to Ebbing Air National Guard Base in Fort Smith. 
(File Photo/River Valley Democrat-Gazette/Thomas Saccente)
The entrance to Ebbing Air National Guard Base in Fort Smith. (File Photo/River Valley Democrat-Gazette/Thomas Saccente)


Members of the Arkansas Air National Guard deployed to Guatemala on Friday for a one-week medical mission, the guard announced Monday.

Thirty-six members of the 188th Wing at Ebbing Air National Guard Base in Fort Smith and the 189th Airlift Wing at Little Rock Air Force Base left for the Central American country on an Iowa Air National Guard KC-135 Stratotanker.

While in Guatemala, the Arkansas National Guard members expect to treat between 200-500 people per day, providing dental, optometry, family medicine and orthopedic care at a hospital in Guatemala City. A public health officer will also provide fetal health protection education to locals.

"We are delighted to contribute to our state partnership with Guatemala by providing essential support and free medical care alongside Guatemalan physicians to help those in need," said Col. Thomas DeGraff, commander of the 189th Medical Operations Squadron, in a press release.

Guatemala has been the Arkansas National Guard's sister country since 2002 through the National Guard Bureau's State Partnership Program.

According to the Guard, Arkansas and Guatemala do 20 to 30 military-to-military exchanges each year.

The State Partnership Program is administered by the National Guard Bureau and guided by State Department foreign policy goals. The program has 88 partnerships with 100 partner nations around the world.


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