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Pacific Partnership team arrives in PNG


Pacific partnership AMPHIBIOUS TRANSPORT dock ship USS Cleveland, the flagship for Pacific Partnership 2011, anchored off Lae on 19 May to begin a mission involving Australia, Canada, Spain, France and the United States.

Cleveland houses the command staff, representatives from non-governmental organisations as well as sailors, soldiers, marines, and airmen from partner nations.

“The Pacific Partnership team is very excited to begin the mission in PNG,” said Capt. Jesse A Wilson, Commander, Destroyer Squadron 23 and mission commander of Pacific Partnership 2011.

“Working together we will provide engineering, dental, medical and veterinary civic action projects and subject matter expert exchanges designed to increase interoperability between partner nations and PNG.

“As a result, we’ll improve the quality of life of the people of PNG, and enhance our collective capability to respond to natural disasters in the region.”

Commander Wilson was greeted with a traditional spear dance, where tribal warriors demonstrate their willingness to defend their villages from invaders. They then welcome them once it is evident they come in peace.

“It's truly a pleasure to be working together with so many different cultures building partnerships that will provide a great deal of help for people in the Pacific,” said Commander Bruce Greig, senior medical officer of the Australian contingent.

Uss_cleveland Along with the medical, dental, engineering and veterinary civic action programs, there will be a humanitarian assistance and disaster response conference, preventive medical outreach programs to mitigate local issues like tuberculosis and dengue, and members of the Pacific Partnership 2011 team will attend the South Pacific Women’s Empowerment Policy Dialogue sponsored by the US embassy.

Pacific Partnership is an annual humanitarian assistance initiative sponsored by the US Pacific Fleet, aimed at improving interoperability between host and partner nations. Now in its sixth year, Pacific Partnership 2011 will continue to Timor-Leste and the Federated States of Micronesia following their mission in Papua New Guinea.

“Different cultures partnering together to make a difference is what Pacific Partnership is all about,” said Teddy Taylor, US ambassador to PNG. “The mission reflects the United States strong commitment to the Pacific region and is providing sustainable projects that will provide improved quality of life for the people in the area.

During the past five years, Pacific Partnership has provided medical, dental, educational, and preventive medicine services to more than 210,000 people and completed more than 140 engineering projects in 15 countries.

Photos: [top] An MH-60S Sea Hawk helicopter approaches the flight deck during a downpour aboard amphibious transport dock ship USS Cleveland off the coast of Lae; [lower] USS Cleveland. (Main photo by: Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael Russell)

Source: US Department of Defense


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