BENGKULU, Indonesia -- U.S. and partner nation service members participating in Pacific Partnership 2018 arrived in Bengkulu, Indonesia aboard the U.S. Navy hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) March 29.
The mission in Bengkulu will continue through April 12 and will feature mission personnel working side-by-side with Indonesian medical professionals, participating in civil engineering projects, conducting humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HA/DR) readiness drills, and partnering in community outreach engagements in the local Bengkulu community.
"We are excited to be working with our friends in Bengkulu," said Capt. David Bretz, Pacific Partnership mission commander. “This port visit is designed to continue our strong partnership with the military and the people of Indonesia. I look forward to learning from one another and strengthing the bond between our two countries during the different exercises and events scheduled to take place.”
Pacific Partnership is the largest annual multilateral disaster response preparedness mission conducted in the Indo-Pacific. This year's mission includes military and civilian personnel from the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, France, Peru, and Japan.
After Indonesia, USNS Mercy will make mission stops in Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, and Japan strengthening alliances, partnerships, and multilateral cooperation throughout the Indo-Pacific region.
"Through Pacific Partnership we are deepening integral ties with our allies and partners across the Indo-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.
"The foundation of trust created through Pacific Partnership engagement helps foster a cooperative environment that encourages collaborative approaches to improving the lives and conditions for the people of this region and beyond," Gabrielson added.