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)