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Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Preventive Medicine Techs Keep Troops Mission-Ready

30-May-07
By Petty Officer 1st Class Mary Popejoy
Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa Public Affairs
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CAMP LEMONIER, Djibouti — Personnel deployed to Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa’s Camp Lemonier can rest easy knowing that Petty Officer 2nd Class Abran Gonzales and Petty Officer 3rd Class Steven Ashe of the Seth Michaud Expeditionary Medical Force, are doing routine health and sanitation inspections around camp to keep them healthy and happy.

Gonzalez and Ashe, preventive medicine technicians, took a break from their corpsman responsibilities May 16 to do a monthly inspection of the dining facility. The inspection consisted of looking for sanitation and hygiene concerns, proper food handling and correct food temperatures.

“Food is a big part of our daily lives here, so it’s important the personnel are getting the best food possible so they can remain healthy, happy and mission ready,” said Gonzales. Their attention to this matter gives personnel piece of mind, he said. “When they go into the dining facility the only thing they need to worry about is what they want to eat, not whether the food was prepared, cooked or stored properly. … We do what we do because their health is what matters most to us,” he said.

Their diligence in this matter keeps customers mission-ready. “We want to reduce the risk of serious diseases from making their way into the human body and establishments, so if our efforts are making a difference then we’re doing something great, and I am proud to be a part such an important mission,” said Ashe.

The inspections also help the dining facility staff see the little things that sometimes get lost in the shuffle during a 23-hour day. “The knowledge we have and the knowledge they have help us better serve the customers here,” said Alaa Hassan, food service area supervisor.

The PMTs conduct health and sanitation checks at the camp Burger King, the latrines, showers, beauty and barber shop, The Post and Base Exchange, laundry rooms, swimming pool, tents and the Coffee Cafe. They also conduct bacteria and E.coli testing, and water surveillance on the wells both on base and in town.

Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa is a unit of U.S. Central Command. The organization conducts operations and training to assist partner nations to combat terrorism in order to establish a secure environment and enable regional stability. More than 1,800 people from each branch of the U.S. military, civilian employees, Coalition forces and partner nations make up the CJTF-HOA organization. The area of responsibility for CJTF-HOA includes the countries of Djibouti, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Kenya, Seychelles, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen.

Photo - Petty Officer 2nd Class Abran Gonzalez, a preventive medicine technician, inspects food containers inside the Bob Hope Dining Facility, Djibouti, Africa, to ensure they are not dented or expired, and that they are being stored at the correct temperature, May 16, 2007. U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Mary Popejoy.

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