A post by Adm. Patrick M. Walsh, commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, on the Official Navy blog shares details regarding the Pacific Partnership and the four-month humanitarian mission and exercise of the hospital ship USNS Mercy.
Adm. Walsh described the Pacific Partnership as a proactive humanitarian assistance program. It is now on its fifth year and is developed through the sharing of experiences among allies, regional nations and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). The program traces its roots in the wake of international efforts to provide assistance to the areas that were affected by the devastating tsunami in December 2004.
This mission takes the USNS Mercy to several countries in the Asia-Pacific Region. It has completed a visit to Vietnam along with the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force ship Kunisaki. Its next stop is Cambodia; the ship will also be stopping in Indonesia and Timor-Leste. Other ships of the United States Navy and the Australian Navy will also be scheduling additional visits to Palau and Papua New Guinea once the USNS Mercy leaves the area in late August.
Among the things that the USNS Mercy was able to accomplish in Vietnam were providing medical, dental, veterinary and engineering assistance to those who are in need. The U.S. Navy Seabees, in coordination with local officials as well as volunteers, were on hand to provide support for civic action projects.
Adm. Walsh closed his post by writing in part that the “Pacific Partnership is about strengthening ties with key organizations during periods of calm, which helps us to better respond collectively in times of crisis.”