USNS Mercy and USNS Fall River to spearhead this year’s Pacific Partnership mission

The US Navy is joining partner nations for the 13th Pacific Partnership mission which starts in Singapore on February 23.

This year’s mission will be led by Commander, Destroyer Squadron 31 and staff, embarked on the hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH-19) and the expeditionary fast transport ship USNS Fall River (T-EPF 4), and will include more than 800 military and civilian personnel from the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, France, Peru, and Japan.

Pacific Partnership is the largest annual multilateral disaster response preparedness mission conducted in the Indo-Asia-Pacific.

“Through Pacific Partnership we are deepening integral ties with our allies and partners across the Indo-Asia-Pacific region,” said Rear Adm. Don Gabrielson, Commander, Task Force 73, the executive agent for Pacific Partnership 18. “The challenges we face with natural and manmade disasters do not respect borders or national sovereignty. This dynamic mission enables many nations and subject matter experts to come together to pursue solutions to complex problems while enhancing preparations for disaster emergencies that reduce the severity of their impact.”

USNS Mercy will make mission stops in Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, and Vietnam while USNS Fall River will visit Yap, Palau, Malaysia, and Thailand.

Medical, dental, civil-engineering, and veterinary teams will partner with each host nation to conduct civic-action projects, community health exchanges, medical symposiums, and disaster response training activities.

Following the mission stops, Mercy will also visit Japan during its return transit across the Pacific Ocean.

Pacific Partnership began in response to one of the world’s most catastrophic natural disasters, the December 2004 tsunami that devastated parts of South and Southeast Asia. The mission has evolved over the years from emphasis on direct care to an operation focused on enhancing partnerships through host nation subject matter expert and civil-military exchanges.