Between January 19 and April 5, 2017, Lt. Martin Bunt deployed with Task Force 48 (TF-48) to Guatemala, Honduras, and Colombia for Continuing Promise 2017 (CP-17). CP-17 was a humanitarian mission under the direction of U.S. Southern Command that was aimed at training the U.S. military in humanitarian and disaster relief while also providing humanitarian aid to local populations in the mission countries. TF-48 was composed of approximately 165 active duty and reserve members from all four branches of the Department of Defense. They embarked on the USNS Spearhead (T-EPF 1), and Spearhead transported them to each mission country.
Once in country, TF-48 would disembark for 10 to 15 days to set up living camps and mobile clinics. In total, TF-48 accomplished over 16,000 patient encounters and delivered over $2 million in humanitarian donations during the mission. Bunt wore many hats during the deployment: staff judge advocate, foreign claims officer, director of non-governmental organizations (NGO), tent construction team leader, and airlift customs leader. Legal issues included disciplinary advice, medical regulations, Status of Forces Agreements, gift and donation acceptance, NGO integration, fiscal law, and government contractor questions. Highlights of the deployment included:
- Coordinating the legal acceptance and shipping from the U.S. to Honduras of over $750,000 in medical donations from a private organization
- Playing soccer with local children at the medical sites and competing against the local military soccer teams.
- Co-supervising an unplanned airlift evolution when the bad weather forced Spearhead to return to Mayport, Fla. TF-48 personnel unloaded over 50,000lbs of cargo from Spearhead (half of it by hand) and re-packaged it into pallets in just 5 days. U.S. Navy C-130s performed airlift evolutions for five days to carry all of the TF-48 cargo and personnel to Colombia where TF-48 then successfully completed its mission.
- Live interpreting (English to Spanish) the Commodore’s closing ceremony remarks in Honduras and opening ceremony remarks in Colombia.