The sixth Pacific Partnership 2019 concluded its mission stop in Vietnam during a closing ceremony held in Tuy Hoa, the capital of the south-central Vietnamese province of Phu Yen, on Friday.
The ceremony was attended by senior mission leadership, host nation and partner nation participants, the U.S. Embassy in Hanoi said in a press release.
“Throughout our time here, we have strengthened existing friendships and created new ones,” said Capt. Randy Van Rossum, Pacific Partnership 2019 mission commander.
“It is clear that the U.S., Vietnam, and our partner nations have a strong desire to grow as a team.”
This year marked a decade that Pacific Partnership has been invited to Vietnam, but the first time the mission was hosted in 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 subject matter expert exchanges.
Medical personnel from the U.S., Peru, and South Korea worked side-by-side at Phu Yen General Hospital and several clinics.
|U.S. Navy Hospital personnel talk to a Phu Yen Medical College student during a blood drive to deepen strategic partnerships during Pacific Partnership 2019 in Tuy Hoa, south-central Vietnam, May 13, 2019. Photo: U.S. Navy|
“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 U.S. Navy Lt. Cmdr. Thomas Avallone, an optometrist assigned to the Pacific Partnership team.
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.
U.S. Navy Seabees and U.S. 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 completed a groundbreaking ceremony at Kim Dong Primary School, facilitated by the Naval Facilities Engineering Command.
“We were able to complete several projects to help build community resilience, which was rewarding for our team,” said U.S. Army 1st Lt. Megan Rogers, officer in charge of the 84th Engineer Battalion team attached to Pacific Partnership 2019.
The U.S. Army, U.S. Navy and U.S. Coast Guard also worked alongside local Vietnamese government organizations conducting HADR seminars.
|Rear Admiral Murray Joe Tynch meets doctors at the General Hospital of Phu Yen, south-central Vietnam, in the scheme of the annual disaster response preparedness exercise Pacific Partnership 2019, on May 16. Photo: Tran Phuong / Tuoi Tre|
“Pacific Partnership acknowledges the complexity of disaster response operations and the leading part civilian organizations have,” said U.S. 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, 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.