Pacific Partnership returning home after four months underway

After concluding mission stops in six countries, this years’s Pacific Partnership arrived in the U.S. 3rd Fleet area of responsibility en route to Hawaii aboard hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH 19). 

Pacific Partnership members are on a brief stop as the mission nears conclusion.

Mercy departed Naval Base San Diego May 11 and served as the command platform for the Pacific Partnership 2016 mission. Pacific Partnership is the largest annual, multilateral disaster response preparedness mission in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.

“The objective was to improve interoperability between countries to strengthen the relationships and partnerships,” said Cmdr. Miguel Gutierrez, director of medical operations, Pacific Partnership 2016.

Countries visited during Pacific Partnership 2016 included Timor Leste, the Philippines, Vietnam, Palau, Malaysia and Indonesia. Throughout the mission, Pacific Partnership personnel shared and gained expertise from each partner nation through subject matter expert exchanges in medical, engineering, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, cooperative health engagements and Women, Peace and Security seminars. Key leader and community relations events provided for direct engagement and enhanced relationships with partner nation leadership and local citizens.

The engagements from every line of effort built capability and interoperability, which helped strengthen and establish relationships with each partner nation,” said Royal Australian navy Capt. Mike Spruce, deputy mission commander, Pacific Partnership 2016. “This mission is a lot about exchanging ideas, and the knowledge and skills shared throughout Pacific Partnership 2016 will last well after the mission is over.”

Mercy and the Pacific Partnership 2016 team are scheduled to arrive at Naval Base San Diego at the end of the month.