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Lance Cpl. Steven B. Chole, a combat engineer with 8th Engineer Support Battalion, 2nd Marine Logistics Group, drills a hole during Operation Continuing Promise in Jamaica, which took place from April to September 2011. The five-month operation made stops in nine different countries. (Courtesy Photo)

Photo by courtesy photo

Corps continues promise to South America

14 Oct 2011 | Pfc. Franklin E. Mercado

Marines are well known for victories and hard fought battles throughout history, but humanitarian missions are also part of the Marine Corps’ mission.

Five Marines from 8th Engineer Support Battalion, 2nd Marine Logistics Group, took part in Operation Continuing Promise, a five-month humanitarian mission through the Caribbean and South America from April to September 2011.

The detachment helped rebuild schools and clinics, and even built two classrooms from the ground up.

“It was a good experience all around,” said Staff Sgt. Mauricio Molinadiaz, who was the staff noncommissioned officer-in-charge of the group. “All the people we encountered were really grateful.”

Most people the Marines encountered weren’t just grateful, they showered them with thanks and gratitude to an almost surreal level the Orlando, Fla., native said.

A total of 15 engineering and construction projects were completed in Jamaica, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Nicaragua, Guatemala, El Salvador, Costa Rica and Haiti.

“These people were thanking us for things we take for granted on a daily basis,” Molinadiaz said. “We don’t always realize it, but schools and medical services are things other countries don’t have.”

Some of the areas visited during the operation had hundreds of students but only one classroom, Molinadiaz explained.

“This whole experience was life changing,” he said. “You don’t expect countries and cities to not have schools, clinics or medical supplies, but there are places that don’t.

“I’m just glad we got the opportunity to give a lending hand on the behalf of the Marine Corps,” he concluded.

Whether defending others in foreign lands, or making an effort to help countries in need, the Marine Corps sets forth with its best effort.

Molinadiaz and his team of four Marines showed their dedication to helping others, not just for their country but also for people across the globe.


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