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U.S., partner nations conclude successful Pacific Partnership in Vietnam

PACIFIC OCEAN (March 20, 2018) Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) anchors in waters near the Ulithi Atoll while en route for its first mission stop of Pacific Partnership 2018 (PP18). PP18’s mission is to work collectively with host and partner nations to enhance regional interoperability and disaster response capabilities, increase stability and security in the region, and foster new and enduring friendships across the Indo-Pacific Region. Pacific Partnership, now in its 13th iteration, is the largest annual multinational humanitarian assistance and disaster relief preparedness mission conducted in the Indo-Pacific. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Cameron Pinske/Released)

Story by Petty Officer 2nd Class Kelsey Adams
Commander, Logistics Group Western Pacific

NHA TRANG, Vietnam– Service members and mission personnel participating in Pacific Partnership 2018 departed Nha Trang aboard the U.S. Navy’s hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) June 2, after a successful two-week mission in Vietnam. This mission in Nha Trang included personnel from the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force embarked in JDS Osumi (LST 4001) and team members assigned to USNS Brunswick (T-EPF-6).

“We are very grateful to the people of Vietnam for providing us an opportunity to learn from them,” said Capt. David Bretz, Pacific Partnership mission commander. “We see our differences in culture and training as something to be celebrated, as anyone would appreciate the unique qualities of a friend. This was a very productive mission for the U.S., Vietnam, Japan, and all participating partner nations.”

During the mission in Nha Trang, the mission’s medical professionals worked alongside Vietnamese medical personnel engaging in patient care activates, community health and surgical exchanges, and symposia in various medical disciplines.

Mission civil engineers built and repaired schools and medical clinic facilities alongside their Vietnamese counterparts and held workshops to discuss methods to build resilient facilities that can withstand inclement weather and tropical storms. Additionally, subject matter experts from the mission conducted workshops highlighting humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HA/DR) topics including swimmer safety, urban search and rescue, and a six-day beach course for lifeguard teachers. Mission personnel also set up training scenarios covering response to severe flooding and other natural disasters.

When not participating in training, mission members attended community outreach events such as concerts put on by the U.S. Pacific Fleet Band at various locations, sporting events, arts and crafts for children with disabilities, and beach clean-up events.

“The United States appreciates the Government of Vietnam’s close cooperation and support throughout Pacific Partnership 18. Having U.S. and Vietnamese personnel work together on such a broad range of events highlights that we have forged a strong and lasting Comprehensive Partnership – one that benefits not just our two countries, but the entire Indo-Pacific region,” said U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam Daniel J. Kritenbrink.

During Pacific Partnership 18, USNS Mercy and USNS Brunswick conducted visits to different nations in the Indo-Pacific region, increasing the reach and scope of participants and host-nation counterparts to conduct technical expertise exchanges in medical, engineering, humanitarian assistance, and disaster relief. Additionally, key leader and community engagement events provided opportunities for meaningful engagement with local citizens and enhanced relationships with partner nation military and government leadership.

Pacific Partnership, now in its 13th iteration, is the largest annual multilateral HA/DR preparedness mission conducted in the Indo-Pacific. Pacific Partnership consists of more than 800 U.S. military personnel stationed worldwide, working side-by-side with host-nation counterparts to be better prepared for potential human HA/DR situations.

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