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Operation Reunion

The Elian Gonzales Case
November 1999 - June 2000

Operation Reunion required the Division to provide planning and operational support during the evacuation of Elian Gonzales from a hostile and volatile situation. The planning consisted of three major functions: Training, Fitness for Travel and Medical/Mental Health Escort Duties. Training was provided to the ICE agent who escorted Elian. It consisted of developing various scenarios and scripting pertinent material to minimize separation anxiety. Fitness for travel involved the physical examination by the flight surgeon prior to transport. If medical problems existed the physician had the authority to cancel the air transport. The Medical and Mental Health escort duties provided in-flight patient monitoring by a psychiatrist and flight surgeon. It also established a safe, secure and interactive environment to comfort and redress the anxiety, fear and shock the child might be experiencing during transport. This assignment took Division personnel out of their typical clinic environment, and placed them in key roles and authority in the execution of a very high profile operation. Division personnel became authorized spokespeople for the Service and were forced to move from their homes due to cultural pressures and affiliations resulting from their role.

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