Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel have provided eye-saving cataract surgery and built a school for the disabled as part of a coalition of international militaries providing humanitarian assistance in South-East Asia.
22 Australian Defence Force (ADF) members have completed a two week humanitarian assistance mission in Quy Nhon, Vietnam, as part of the US-led Pacific Partnership 2010 (PP10).
Australian Army engineers from the 2nd Combat Engineer Regiment, based in Brisbane, contributed to the re-construction of a school for disabled children; fitting electrical and plumbing services as well as assisting local Vietnamese contractors improve the aesthetics of the building.
Defence Nurses assisted in the conduct of 132 operations onboard USNS Mercy and a Navy Ophthalmologist conducted 13 cataract surgeries whilst an Army Medical Officer provided medical care to approximately 300 patients throughout the two week period. An Australian Army Dentist, born in Vietnam, but who moved to Australia at age two, provided dental services to hundreds of patients at various clinics in the Binh Dinh province, Vietnam.
The annual US Pacific Fleet sponsored humanitarian assistance mission has given the ADF personnel a unique opportunity to work alongside U.S. military personnel, partner nations, host nation civilians and non-government organisations.
Mission Commander, Commodore Lisa Franchetti, United States Navy said the contribution of the Australian contingent was critical in the completion of the humanitarian assistance programs in Quy Nhon.
„Each and every one of the Australian Defence personnel contributed to the success of our achievements in Vietnam. I am very proud of their efforts and grateful to have them as part of my 900-strong team,“ said Commodore Franchetti.
Commander Australian National Command Element, Lieutenant Colonel Helen Murphy said the chance to work with so many different military personnel was a unique experience.
„All twenty two Australians have enjoyed the opportunity to work with the United States military personnel and personnel from the other five partner nations. Each ADF member has been integrated into the multi-national teams and the personal and professional development is already evident, after only two weeks,“ said Lieutenant Colonel Murphy.
This year PP10 will also visit Cambodia, Indonesia, and East Timor based on USNS Mercy. For the first time since the inception of the mission a Royal Australian Navy vessel, HMAS Tobruk will be used as the command platform when the mission visits Papua New Guinea (PNG). Two Heavy Landing Craft, HMA Ships Labuan and Brunei will provide ship to shore support in Indonesia, East Timor and PNG.
USNS Mercy and the PP10 team have today arrived in Sihanoukville, Cambodia for two weeks.
Ministerial Support and Public Affairs,
Department of Defence,