Partnership prepares Pacific nations for natural disasters

The Pacific Partnership, a multinational mission providing disaster response training and humanitarian aid, returned to the Indo-Pacific for its 14th year in 2019.

Following its response to the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami, the U.S. Navy decided to resume a humanitarian mission to the Indo-Pacific annually, starting in March of 2006. Together, experts in engineering, medicine and disaster response from allied militaries and nongovernmental organizations help countries develop the capacity to withstand whatever Mother Nature delivers.

People in camouflage demonstrating medical techniques to a class (Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Chanel Turner/U.S. Navy)
U.S. Navy Hospital Corpsman Kyle Vinzant applies a tourniquet while training the Micronesia Red Cross Society during Pacific Partnership 2019. (Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Chanel Turner/U.S. Navy)

“Pacific Partnership brings nations together to prepare in calm to respond in crisis,” said Captain Randy Van Rossum, the mission commander for Pacific Partnership 2019.

Pacific Partnership 2019 set sail on March 4 aboard two U.S. Navy fast transport ships, the USNS Brunswick and the USNS Fall River, with stops scheduled for Malaysia, Timor-Leste, Thailand, Vietnam, the Philippines and the Federated States of Micronesia.

This year’s team includes 500 experts from Australia, Canada, Japan, Malaysia, Peru, the Philippines, Republic of the Marshall Islands, South Korea, Thailand, the United Kingdom and the United States. They have worked alongside host nations on infrastructure projects at local schools, health education programming, and preparedness training for security forces.

Military members playing tug-of-war with Micronesian children (Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Chanel Turner/U.S. Navy)
Royal Navy Captain Paddy Allen, left, and Roldofo Espino of the U.S. Navy play tug-of-war with students of Mwen Elementary School in Micronesia. (Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Chanel Turner/U.S. Navy)

“Pacific Partnership is about building trust and sharing knowledge,” said Rear Admiral Joey Tynch, executive agent for Pacific Partnership 2019. “This mission shows that the U.S., our partners and hosts are working together to making this region better prepared for disaster response.”