|PP19 visits Phu Yen Inclusive Center. (Source: dvidshub.net)|
Captain Randy Van Rossum, Pacific Partnership 2019 (PP19) mission commander, said: “Throughout our time in Vietnam, we have strengthened the existing friendships and created new ones. It is clear that the US, Vietnam, and our partner nations have a strong desire to grow as a team.”
According to the US Embassy in Vietnam, this year marked a decade that the Pacific Partnership has been invited to Vietnam, but the first time the mission was hosted in the central province of Phu Yen.
During their time in Vietnam, the PP19 team collaborated with their respective Phu Yen counterparts to complete five humanitarian and disaster response (HADR) events, four engineering projects, 12 host nation outreach events, nine band concerts, and 18 medical expertise exchanges.
Medical personnel from the US, Peru, and the Republic of Korea worked side-by-side at Phu Yen General Hospital and several local clinics. Significant knowledge exchanges, aimed to increase the collective capacity between partner nations, covered a wide range of topics such as pharmaceutical care, nursing, nutrition, infection control, blood and physical therapy.
“During this mission stop we gained a better understanding of how critical it is to work well with our partner nations and how much we can learn from each other working side-by-side to combine our knowledge and experiences,” said US Navy lieutenant commander Thomas Avallone, an optometrist assigned to the Pacific Partnership team.
US Navy Seabees and US Army engineers completed four construction and renovation projects at Vo Thi Sau Elementary School, Hoa Xuan Tay Commune Clinic, Chu Van An Elementary School, and Hoa Phu Commune Clinic. The PP19 team also hosted a groundbreaking ceremony at Kim Dong Primary School, facilitated by the Naval Facilities Engineering Command.
Meanwhile, the US Army, US Navy and US Coast Guard worked alongside local organizations to conduct HADR seminars.
Pacific Partnership acknowledges the complexity of disaster response operations and the leading part civilian organizations have, said US Army Sgt. 1st Class Gavin McBean, HADR team lead. “Working alongside the organizations has enabled the HADR team to learn from our partner nations, and given us the opportunity to build relationships.”
Pacific Partnership began in response to one of the world’s most catastrophic natural disasters, the December 2004 tsunami that devastated parts of South and Southeast Asia. The mission has evolved over the years from emphasis on direct care to an operation focused on enhancing partnerships through host nation subject matter expert and civil-military exchanges.
Pacific Partnership, now in its 14th iteration, is the largest annual multinational humanitarian assistance and disaster relief preparedness mission conducted in the Indo-Pacific.
Each year, the mission team works 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 in the Indo-Pacific.