Pacific Partnership 2018, the largest annual multilateral humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HA/DR) preparedness mission, kicked off aboard the expeditionary fast transport ship USNS Brunswick (T-EPF 6) in Yap, Federated States of Micronesia, March 21.
Military personnel from the U.S., United Kingdom, Japan and Australia will conduct medical, dental and veterinary services and engineering projects throughout the community while working side-by-side with local professionals on HA/DR readiness.
“We are excited to be working with our friends in Yap and throughout the greater southern region during Brunswick’s first visit,” said Capt. Peter Olive, Pacific Partnership 2018 deputy mission commander. “Our time in Yap is about building relationships and the capability and capacity to work together for the future.”
Pacific Partnership, in its 13th iteration, began as a humanitarian response to the 2004 tsunami that devastated parts of Southeast Asia. By building on the region’s shared goal to strengthen national capacities and preparedness for disaster response, 22 partner nations around the globe in 18 host nations in the region have participated since 2006.
Brunswick is one of three expeditionary fast transport ships in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations to continue its mission of providing rapid intra-theater transport of troops and military equipment. Specially configured for humanitarian and disaster relief operations, Brunswick is currently capable of accommodating a robust multi-specialized team of medical, engineering and civic assistance personnel to support the Pacific Partnership mission.
More than 800 military personnel aboard hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH-19) and Brunswick, host nation civilians and non-government organization participants will support this year’s Pacific Partnership mission in Indonesia, Malaysia, Palau, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Vietnam and Yap.
“We are committed to the U.S. and to the friends of the U.S.,” said his Excellency Peter M. Christian, President of the Federated States of Micronesia. “I want to thank the U.S. government for the treaty of 1986 which confirms that small we may be, we are important.”
The U.S. and the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) continue a long history of friendship, having participated in the Pacific Partnership mission as host nation for five years with many Micronesia men and women having served or currently serving in the U.S. armed forces.
“The U.S. is committed to the FSM,” said the Honorable Robert A. Riley, U.S. Ambassador to the Federated States of Micronesia. “There is no sunset to the dedication of the protection of FSM for a free and open Pacific.”
Pacific Partnership continues to focus on developing sustainable projects on a range of topics including clean water practices, preventative health, maintenance of fisheries, methods of recycling, combined animal/public health campaigns and alternative energy initiatives enabling critical infrastructure development across the region.
Since 2006, the Pacific Partnership mission has provided medical care to more than 300,000 patients and veterinary services to nearly 40,000 animals and competed nearly 200 engineering projects while building meaningful and close partnerships throughout the region.
Lt. Clyde Shavers