Australia — Setting sail for Pacific Partnership

Thir­ty-eight Aus­tralian sol­diers, sailors and air­men have embarked on a 16-week human­i­tar­i­an aid mis­sion, spon­sored by the Com­man­der US Pacif­ic Fleet.
Pacif­ic Part­ner­ship is an annu­al mis­sion, which start­ed in 2005 in response to the Indone­sian tsuna­mi cri­sis.

Com­man­der of the Aus­tralian Con­tin­gent, Com­man­der Ash­ley Papp of the Roy­al Aus­tralian Navy, says it aims to devel­op the abil­i­ty of the Aus­tralian Defence Force (ADF) to oper­ate in close coop­er­a­tion with its mil­i­tary col­leagues from the US, New Zealand and oth­er par­tic­i­pants, and to improve the way of life for the country’s Pacif­ic neigh­bours.

“Work­ing close­ly with our friends and allies in this way in times of peace helps us to refine our pro­ce­dures, under­stand­ing and coop­er­a­tion, so that in times of crises we have already trained on how to deliv­er the right sup­port, at the right time, in the right way when need­ed,” Com­man­der Papp said.

The Aus­tralian con­tin­gent depart­ed Hawaii on board USS Cleve­land, with Ton­ga their first port of call.

The con­tin­gent includes nurs­es, den­tists, med­ical and den­tal tech­ni­cians work­ing with local med­ical agen­cies to pro­vide sup­port to com­mu­ni­ty med­ical and den­tal projects.

There are also 12 engi­neers from 6 Engi­neer­ing Sup­port Reg­i­ment (17 Con­struc­tion Squadron) who, dur­ing the next four months will be work­ing with US ‘Sea Bees’ (Con­struc­tion Bat­tal­ion) and local engi­neers on basic con­struc­tion tasks includ­ing con­struc­tion of steel and tim­ber frames for hous­es, installing var­i­ous sized water tanks and fil­ters, and oth­er recon­struc­tion activ­i­ties.

Also join­ing the group is vet­eri­nar­i­an, Cap­tain Jonathan Lee, who is a reserve infantry offi­cer with the 51st Far North Queens­land Reg­i­ment.

“I think it is an excel­lent oppor­tu­ni­ty to oper­ate with allied nations includ­ing the USA and New Zealand to enhance joint oper­abil­i­ty as well as to observe first-hand the cul­ture and agri­cul­tur­al prac­tices in Pacif­ic coun­tries that I have not yet vis­it­ed,” Cap­tain Lee said.

Some of the Pacif­ic Part­ner­ship 11 team have par­tic­i­pat­ed in the mis­sion in pre­vi­ous years.

“Pacif­ic Part­ner­ship allows a large num­ber of peo­ple to have life-chang­ing med­ical ser­vices which oth­er­wise would­n’t have been avail­able to them,” said sur­gi­cal nurse Lieu­tenant Steven Line, Roy­al Aus­tralian Navy Reserve. When the oppor­tu­ni­ty came up to deploy again I jumped at it.”

Press release
Min­is­te­r­i­al Sup­port and Pub­lic Affairs,
Depart­ment of Defence,
Can­ber­ra, Aus­tralia

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