Thursday, August 6, 2009

Australia Joint Operations Chief Lauds Collaboration in Pacific Partnership

Australian Defence Force (ADF) Chief of Joint Operations, Lt. Gen. Mark Evans, helped kick off the Solomon Islands phase of Pacific Partnership Aug. 6 during a ceremony on board the destroyer USS Mustin, which is visiting there during the humanitarian mission.

The General said Pacific Partnership is an excellent example of the synergy that comes from working collaboratively with the U.S. military, according to an Australian Department of Defence release. Indeed, a goal of Pacific Partnership from the U.S. perspective is strengthening alliances and civil-military relationships to help ensure the U.S. military is able to rapidly respond in support of emergency relief efforts in the future.

There are numerous opportunities to do just that during Pacific Partnership, which includes military and government personnel from Australia, Canada, Chile, France, South Korea and the United States, and civilian volunteers from International Relief Teams, Project Hope and University of California San Diego Pre-Dental Society, who are working alongside their local counterparts. The Loloma Foundation and Interplast will accept surgical referrals from embarked medical civic action programs.

The ADF is contributing twelve Australian Army Engineers, a Royal Australian Air Force Dental hygienist and two Royal Australian Navy Landing Craft to the Pacific Partnership mission this year.

U.S. Pacific Fleet’s Pacific Partnership mission, operating this year from USNS Richard E. Byrd, works by, with and through partner nations, non-governmental organizations and other U.S. government and international agencies to provide humanitarian assistance in the U.S. Pacific Command area of responsibility.

Pacific Partnership has already visited Samoa and Tonga, where more than 8,000 patients have received basic medical care, and more than 2,000, dental care. Veterinarians have treated more than 300 animals. Numerous engineering projects were completed in those two locations, including a work effort of more than 400-man days in Tonga alone.

The Solomon Islands mission will run for 14 days and will be followed by missions in Kiribati and the Republic of the Marshall Islands.

Connect with Pacific Partnership via the mission’s website, which includes social media links.

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