U.S. Base in Honduras on Shut-down Following Uprising

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, June 30, 2009 – There are no current threats to U.S. servicemembers serving in Honduras following last week’s ouster of the Honduran president, U.S. Southern Command officials said today.
The 600 American soldiers, sailors and airmen based at Soto Cano Air Base are staying on the base and not conducting exercises with the Honduran military, said Robert Appin, deputy director for public information and outreach at Southern Command in Miami.

The Honduran military reportedly ousted President Manuel Zelaya on June 28. President Barack Obama has expressed concern over the development and said the Hondurans need to work the problem out.

The last off-base operation was June 26 when U.S. servicemembers concluded a medical readiness exercise, Appin said.

Army Col. Richard A. Juergens, commander of Soto Cano, ordered the air base closed following Zelaya’s ouster. „No one is allowed off base except for emergency situations,“ Appin said. „All travel is restricted.“

U.S. forces have served in Honduras since the early 1980s. A mix of active and reserve component servicemembers work with local forces and local institutions. Servicemembers deploy for either six months or a year to Soto Cano, Appin said.

U.S. Department of Defense
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs)