Senegal: Maryland Guard plans medical assistance visit to Africa

American Forces Press Service

BALTIMORE, Nov. 6, 2008 - The Maryland Army National Guard will send soldiers to Africa as part of a scheduled two-week annual training period to provide medical, dental and ophthalmology services to people in the St. Louis region of northwestern Senegal as part of Operation Flintlock, officials announced yesterday.

The deployment, which will take place later this month, will involve about 25 soldiers from the Maryland Army National Guard's Medical Detachment, based at Camp Fretterd in Reisterstown, Md.

It's the Maryland Guard's first deployment to Africa, officials said.

"This is a terrific opportunity for our soldiers to take their military and civilian skills and apply them in a real-world training environment, while at the same time helping the people of the Republic of Senegal," said Brig. Gen. Alberto Jimenez, commander of the Maryland Army National Guard.

"This exercise is a continuation of the ongoing efforts by the Maryland National Guard in support of emerging democracies in countries like Bosnia-Herzegovina, Estonia and now Senegal," Jimenez said.

The Maryland Guardsmen involved in the medical training exercise will directly support Special Operations Command Europe, and expect to treat 500 to 700 patients per day.

Nearly 350 citizen-soldiers and -airmen from the Maryland National Guard are currently serving in support of the global war on terror. Since Sept. 11, 2001, nearly 8,100 soldiers and airmen have been called for various mobilizations, including operations Iraqi Freedom, Enduring Freedom, Noble Eagle and Jump Start, and in the relief efforts for multiple hurricanes.

(From a Maryland National Guard news release.)