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Mideast edition, Saturday, August 18, 2007

ARLINGTON, Va. — The U.S. military is sending a 30-person team of soldiers and airmen from Joint Task Force Bravo at Soto Cano Air Base in Honduras to offer medical aid to quake victims in Peru.

The task force received orders for the mission Thursday night, Army Lt. Erika Yepsen, a Joint Task Force Bravo spokeswoman, told Stripes by telephone from Soto Cano on Friday, as the team prepared to go to Pisco, Peru.

The team is traveling aboard an Air Force C-130 transport from the 156th Airlift Wing, based in Puerto Rico, and expects to be on the ground by Friday night, she said.

Its orders are to remain for at least 72 hours, with the possibility of being extended, she said.

The team includes a general surgeon, anesthesiologist, general practitioner, physician’s assistant, nurses, medical technicians, security personnel, communications specialists, and other support staff, Yepsen said.

The task force at Soto Cano is the only component of U.S. Southern Command with permanent personnel assigned. The task force is tapped almost exclusively for humanitarian missions, Yepsen said.

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