By Lt.j.g Emily Wilkin, Pacific Partnership Public Affairs
USNS Fall River (T-EPF 4) arrives in Da Nang, Vietnam, May 8 for Pacific Partnership. (U.S. Navy/MC2 Joshua Fulton) >>
SINGAPORE - Pacific Partnership 2017, embarked aboard USNS Fall River (T-EPF 4) arrived in Singapore May 31, marking the conclusion of this year’s mission.
Fall River departed Singapore on March 4 and served as the command platform for the Pacific Partnership 2017 mission. Pacific Partnership is the largest annual, multilateral disaster response preparedness mission in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.
“Pacific Partnership 2017 gave us the chance to build lasting partnerships and friendships with all of the countries we visited. These partnerships will allow us to be better prepared to work together in the future.” said Captain Stanfield Chien, Pacific Partnership 2017 mission commander.
Pacific Partnership 2017 conducted mission stops in three countries – Sri Lanka, Malaysia and Vietnam and was the first Pacific Partnership completed solely utilizing a T-EPF vessel, vice the USNS Mercy.
Throughout the mission, Pacific Partnership personnel shared and gained expertise working side-by-side with their host nation counterparts through subject matter expert exchanges in medical, engineering, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.
Key leader and community engagement events provided for direct engagement with local citizens and enhanced relationships with partner nation military and government leadership.
Pacific Partnership 2017 was the first Pacific Partnership mission to visit Sri Lanka. The Sri Lankan Navy hosted a large scale humanitarian aid and disaster response field training exercise (FTX) that included ship to shore movement, simulated crowd control and water purification training. This FTX integrated the Sri Lankan Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force with the U.S. Sailors, Soldiers and Marines.
The Seabees of Amphibious Construction Battalion One completed five engineering projects with Sri Lankan Navy engineers to benefit the greater Hambantota community for years to come.
Representatives from Sri Lanka, Japan, Australia, and the United States joined Sri Lankan civic leaders in Matara for a Women, Peace and Security (WPS) discussion. Held in conjunction with International Women’s Day, this even enabled the various experts to share their respective countries’ national action plans for implementing United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 (UNSCR1325).
Following Sri Lanka USNS Fall River made a good will port call to Yangon, Myanmar, becoming the first U.S. naval vessel to visit Myanmar since WWII.
Pacific Partnership 2017 then traveled to Malaysia, visiting Kuala Lumpur, Kuching and Kota Kinabalu.
At the University of Malaysia Sarawak (UNIMAS) Pacific Partnership 2017 conducted the first large scale humanitarian aid and disaster relief training event in Malaysia integrating joint, multinational, and civilian agencies.
U.S. Army, Navy and Marine Corps members actively participated in community engagements within the local area, including a field day with the Sarawak Scouts on the island of Borneo.
Pacific Partnership 2017 made its final country stop in Vietnam, visiting Da Nang for the fourth consecutive year and making its inaugural stop in Khan Hoa Province.
While in Vietnam, Pacific Partnership teamed up with Project Hope to complete numerous medical engagements, joint replacements, restorative burn care, physical therapy and cardiology procedures among many other medical specialties.
Utilizing subject matter expert exchanges to share best practices and techniques, the medical team in Vietnam completed over 100 engagements, including several events aboard the Vietnamese Hospital ship Khanh Hoa-1.
The U.S. Navy Seventh Fleet Band conducted public band performances and participated in cultural exchanges through music during community engagement events.
"Pacific Partnership continues to help the United States deepen relationships with host nations across the Indo-Asia-Pacific region," said Rear Adm. Don Gabrielson, Commander, Task Force 73 and execute agent for the Pacific Partnership mission. "Through meaningful and productive relationships we build credibility with our partners that ultimately leads to trust. Trust is the intangible foundation that allows nations to work together effectively in times of crisis when it matters the most."
Pacific Partnership 2017 was made up of over 500 U.S. Military personnel stationed all around the globe, working side-by-side with host nation counterparts to be better prepared for a humanitarian aid and disaster response situation in the future.