ADF Personnel Works Side by Side with Partner Nations Aboard USNS Mercy
Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel are proving they are made of “the white stuff” following the embarkation of the Australian contingent to Pacific Partnership 2012 aboard the massive white-painted US hospital ship USNS Mercy during its stopover in Guam.
The 29 Australian soldiers, airmen, airwomen and sailors have joined more than 1000 international military and non-government organisation (NGO) personnel on the ship.
A further 12 Australian Army engineers are already working on building an emergency care facility and renovating a clinic in the Indonesian island of Talaud as part of the same mission.
Commander Ken Walters, the Australian contingent commander, said the contingent had been warmly welcomed on-board.
“We are a truly integrated force, with our people working side by side with people from the US, 13 partner nations and 23 NGOs,” Commander Walters said.
Now in its seventh year, Pacific Partnership is an annual US Pacific Fleet-sponsored training and readiness mission designed to draw to together partner nations, host nations and non-government organisations to create an Asia-Pacific collective and integrated capability to respond to natural disasters.
During Pacific Partnership 2012 the mission will spend two weeks each delivering medical, dental, veterinary and engineering services to selected locations in Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam and Cambodia.
Australia has contributed ADF personnel to Pacific Partnership every year since its inception in 2006 to demonstrate the willingness of Australia to support peace, stability and humanitarian relief efforts in the Asia-Pacific region.
Naval Today Staff , May 31, 2012; Image: Australian Navy