USNS Mercy and USNS Millinocket To Depart Hawaii for Pacific Partnership Deployment

USNS Mercy 131

Sailors “Man The Rails” as USNS Mercy comes into Pearl Harbor.

The hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) and the Joint High Speed Vessel USNS Millinocket (JHSV 3) are scheduled to depart May 27 for a four-month deployment in support of the Navy’s Pacific Partnership 2015.

The tenth iteration of the U.S. Pacific Fleet’s annual Pacific Partnership mission will take place in the Southeast Asia and Oceania regions over a four-month period beginning in late May.

Host nations will include Fiji, Kiribati, Papua New Guinea, Federated States of Micronesia, Republic of the Philippines, Solomon Islands and Vietnam.

Getting flown out to the USNS Mercy

Getting flown out to the USNS Mercy

Working at the invitation of each host nation, U.S. Naval forces will be joined by U.S. Army, U.S. Marine Corps, and U.S. Air Force personnel as well as non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and regional partners including Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Canada, Timor Leste, Fiji and France to improve maritime security, conduct humanitarian assistance, and strengthen disaster response preparedness.

Isolation chambers inside the USNS Mercy

Isolation chambers inside the USNS Mercy

Born out of the devastation wrought by the 2004 tsunami that swept through parts of Southeast Asia, Pacific Partnership began as a military-led humanitarian response to one of the world’s most catastrophic natural disasters.  Building on the success and goodwill of this operation, the hospital ship USNS Mercy returned to the region in 2006 for the inaugural Pacific Partnership mission.  The mission staff expanded to include partner nation militaries and NGOs working to increase the disaster relief capabilities of Bangladesh, Indonesia, the Philippines and East Timor.  Since then, Pacific Partnership has grown in scope and size.

U.S. Navy Capt. Christopher Engdahl, commander of Destroyer Squadron 9, based in Everett, Washington, will lead this year’s mission from Mercy.  USNS Millinocket will be deploying on the Pacific Partnership mission for the first time, with embarked elements of the 30th Naval Construction Regiment.

Partner nation militaries and government agencies, NGOs and host nation planning efforts have focused on collaborative efforts with professionals in the fields of medicine, dentistry, veterinary, public health services, engineering and disaster response.

For more information on Pacific Partnership, visit the official Pacific Partnership website at:
http://www.cpf.navy.mil/pacific-partnership/2015/

USS Pearl Harbor… In Pearl Harbor

Admiral Cecil Haney posted the following on Facebook this morning:

USS Pearl Harbor’s port visit to its namesake this weekend brings the ship one step closer to her San Diego home after supporting our 8th annual Pacific Partnership (PP) mission.

USS Pearl Harbor in Pearl Harbor.  US NAVY Photo

USS Pearl Harbor in Pearl Harbor. US NAVY Photo

Since May, the ship and her outstanding crew of U.S. Navy Sailors and multinational civilians/military personnel has served as the centerpiece of an important mission to improve disaster relief response in Oceania. PP’13 marked the first time that partner nations — Australia and New Zealand — took the lead of individual phases, a significant commitment milestone for future missions (For more, see http://www.cpf.navy.mil/pacific-partnership/2013/). Named after a place that reminds people of a world war, it is fitting that USS Pearl Harbor and her crew spent the last few months advancing partnerships in a multilateral mission to enhance stability, security and peace in the Pacific. Bravo Zulu!

USNS Mercy Arrives Back in Hawaii Following Pacific Partnership 2012

Back in May, I was flown out to the USNS Mercy as it began it’s Pacific Partnership 2012 and I got to ride in with the ship as it came in to Pearl Harbor.

This was actually the second time I had a chance to visit the Mercy but this was the first time I got to visit her out at sea and actually ride with her into Pearl Harbor.

Yesterday, the Mercy returned to Pearl Harbor following it’s five month deployment during Pacific Partnership 2012.

Pacific Partnership 2012 (PP12), embarked aboard hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH 19), arrived in Pearl Harbor Sept. 2 as it nears completion of a nearly five-month deployment, the largest annual humanitarian and civic assistance mission in the Asia-Pacific.

Following the visit to Hawaii, Mercy will transit to her homeport of San Diego, returning in mid-September.

While in Hawaii, Mercy will detach personnel and unload equipment that played a critical role in providing medical, dental, engineering and veterinary services to the four host nations of Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam and Cambodia during PP12.

Sarah Sanderlin, a member of the University of Hawaii Nursing and Engineering Schools Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) team aboard Mercy, said the Hawaii contingent will be disembarking to return back to family, friends and normal civilian life after providing vital medical and engineering support, especially in the area of subject matter expert exchanges (SMEE).

“This trip has been a chance of a lifetime for me,” said Sanderlin. “I have a different perspective of life around the world and a better understanding of the world now. Now that I am returing home, I want to be able to remember the places we have been as something more than just a great trip. I want to teach my kids how the rest of the world lives and what their perspective is of the U.S.

“Although returning back to a normal routine will be challenging, I am excited to return back to some of the normal things back home.”

At the invitation of the host nations, PP12 brought the expertise of U.S. service members and personnel from 13 partner nation militaries and 23 Non-Governmental Organizations to treat and evaluate more than 49,000 people.

SMEEs were a large focus of this year’s mission including joint surgeries, medical and veterinary care, culinary exchanges and cultural learning. Additionally, 887 surgeries were performed, more than 7,000 animals were treated, 13 buildings were built or refurbished and 104 community service projects were completed with 244 pallets of requested supplies were donated to host nations.

PP12 Mission Commander Capt. Jim Morgan said during the closing ceremony in Cambodia that the really important parts of this mission are the professional and cultural exchanges between PP12 participants and the host and partner nations.

“It’s through increased understanding and trust that we will all work better and more efficiently together – not if, but when – a natural disaster strikes,” said Morgan.

Pacific Partnership, an annual U.S. Pacific Fleet sponsored humanitarian and civic assistance mission now in its seventh year, brings together U.S. military personnel, host and partner nations, non-governmental organizations and international agencies to build stronger relationships and build disaster response capabilities throughout the Asia-Pacific region.

For more information about the PP12 mission, please visit the Pacific Partnership Blog or engage with Pacific Partnership on Facebook and Twitter.

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