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U.S. Navy: 'Trying to do good.'

May 24, 2008 |  8:18 am

080520n7797j1541_2 The amphibious assault ship Boxer is off the coast of Acajutla in El Salvador as part of a humanitarian mission called Continuing Promise 2008.

The ship, with dozens of medical personnel and Seabees, left San Diego on April 28 for a two-month mission that will include stops off Guatemala, El Salvador and Peru.

Setting up clinics ashore, U.S. personnel, working with host-country counterparts, are seeing about 600 to 700 patients a day for dental, optometry and primary care, the Navy said. In Guatemala, 5,000 patients were treated; 1,000 pairs of eyeglasses were distributed; and 1,000 animals were inspected by U.S. veterinarians.

Seabees are busy doing roofing, plumbing and repair on schools and churches

It's part of a new U.S. strategy to put greater emphasis on humanitarian missions, particularly in regions of the world where the image of the U.S. has taken a beating in recent years. This summer, a similar mission will be undertaken in the Caribbean and eastern coast of South America by the amphibious assault ship Kearsarge.

''We're coming down here and trying to do good," Capt. Peter Dallman, the Boxer's commodore, said Friday during a ship-to-shore interview with bloggers and online journalists.

--Tony Perry, in San Diego

Photo: Lt. Megan Rieman, a Navy doctor, treats a young patient in Guatemala. Credit: U.S. Navy.