Serving in Central America: Operation Continuing Promise

T.J. Porter

In the wake of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, Team Rubicon was born on an ideal that military veterans’ and first responders’ skills and experiences could be repurposed for disaster response. Initially created as an international response organization, Team Rubicon quickly pivoted to building our domestic capacity in 2011, after identifying the need to further engage Greyshirts and support the homeland, due to the sheer frequency of disasters in the United States. 


A patient receives care from a Team Rubicon volunteer in Puerto Cortes, Honduras.

For eight years, we’ve honed our craft with the aim of becoming the best damn disaster response organization in the world while relentlessly punching Mother Nature in the face. In fact, since 2011, our domestic operations have doubled in comparison to our international operations year after year ever since. However, 2018 is going to be a banner year for us. We’re extremely close to finalizing our certification as a World Health Organization Type 1 Mobile Emergency Medical Team, we’re relaunching our international portal and pipeline to better identify Greyshirts ready to respond internationally, and we’re creating robust training to prepare them for disasters abroad. We also just launched our first proactive international operation since 2012 and deployed alongside our brothers and sisters with the United States Navy and United States Southern Command as part of Operation Continuing Promise.

Continuing Promise is a U.S. Southern Command training mission introduced in 2007. During the 2018 mission, Continuing Promise personnel will provide medical, environmental health, veterinary, and humanitarian assistance activities in select countries to strengthen partnerships and improve cooperation on many levels with partner nations, interagency organizations, and nongovernmental organizations. The purpose of Continuing Promise is to conduct civilian-military operations including humanitarian civil assistance, medical, dental, veterinary, and disaster response with partner nations and to show U.S. support and commitment to Central America, South America and the Caribbean.


Team Rubicon volunteers repairing and reinforcing buildings in Honduras.


This past week, we sent a cadre of instructors and medical personnel to Honduras. In the future, we’ll also send volunteers to Guatemala. Over 60 Team Rubicon members will provide instruction and certification of the American Heart Association Basic Life Saver and Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support, with support from our partners at Carolinas Healthcare System, to host-nation medical professionals. We’ll further leverage our experiences in deploying to rapid-onset disasters by providing instruction on civilian-military cooperation during humanitarian assistance and disaster response operations and how the host-nations plug-in to the United Nations’ coordination system. Team Rubicon personnel will also staff a medical clinic with the U.S. military and other NGOs, to provide medical and dental care to the residents of Honduras and Guatemala while also training their civilian healthcare providers on the United States’ best practices and pioneering technologies.

We kicked off Continuing Promise 2018 on March 15 in Puerto Cortes, Honduras. Over the weekend, a total of 151 patients were seen and we’re just getting started. Check out our operations page for regular updates. Operation Continuing Promise will come to a close in Tumaco, Colombia on May 10. 


Looking to serve internationally or domestically?  Join the team today.

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