POSTED: 12:23 p.m. HST, May 9, 2013
LAST UPDATED: 4:06 p.m. HST, May 9, 2013
The U.S. Pacific Fleet’s annual Pacific Partnership humanitarian mission will take place in the Oceania region over a four-month period beginning in May using the amphibious dock landing ship USS Pearl Harbor, the Navy said.
The Australian ship HMAS Tobruk and the New Zealand ship HMNZS Canterbury will also serve as command platforms.
Nations receiving assistance during the eighth iteration of Pacific Partnership will include Samoa, Tonga, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Papua New Guinea, Kiribati and the Solomon Islands.
“The U.S. Pacific Fleet is always prepared for battle, but we also operate to preserve the peace,” said Adm. Cecil D. Haney, who command Pacific Fleet from Pearl Harbor. “Ultimately, missions such as Pacific Partnership strengthen relationships that are critical to deter conflict. They build trust, enhance cooperation, and open dialogues between leaders, a multilateral approach that benefits all nations including the United States.”
The Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Mercy last year visited Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Cambodia, conducting more than 900 surgeries, evaluating and treating more than 49,000 people, and providing more than 7,000 veterinary services during Pacific Partnership, the Navy said.
This year, U.S. Navy forces will be joined by non-governmental organizations and regional partners that include Australia, Canada, France, Japan, Malaysia and New Zealand to improve maritime security, conduct humanitarian assistance, and strengthen disaster response preparedness.
Pacific Partnership 2013 will be the first mission where partner nations lead individual phases, the Navy said.
Australia will lead in Papua New Guinea, New Zealand will lead in both Kiribati and Solomon Islands, while the United States leads in Samoa, Tonga, and the Marshall Islands.
“Sharing of lead responsibilities and logistical resourcing among partner nations will keep this incredibly impactful mission sustainable in light of future fiscal challenges,” said Capt. Wallace Lovely, commander of Hawaii-based Destroyer Squadron 31, who will lead this year’s mission.