KUCHING, Malaysia -- USNS Fall River (T-EPF 4), a Military Sealift Command expeditionary fast transport ship, arrived in Kuching, Malaysia as part of Pacific Partnership 2019, March 27.
Malaysia has participated each year since Pacific Partnership began in response to the December 2004 tsunami that devastated parts of South and Southeast Asia. The mission has evolved over the years from emphasis on direct care to an operation focused on enhancing partnerships through host nation subject matter expert and civil-military exchanges.
"A lot of hard work has gone into the planning process from both the Malaysian Armed Forces (MAF) and Pacific Partnership personnel," said U.S.
Navy Lt. j. g. Kate Constantakis, Pacific Partnership 2019 officer in charge of the Malaysia stop. "I look forward to watching execution unfold and seeing how we can learn from the MAF about disaster preparedness and response and build off of each other's strengths."
The mission in Kuching includes training with local medical professionals, participation in civil engineering projects, Humanitarian Assistance-Disaster Relief readiness drills, in addition to outreach and band performances.
"Working together with our host and partner nations provides an outstanding opportunity for us to learn from each other and grow stronger together,"
said Royal Australian Navy Capt. Brendon Zilko, Pacific Partnership 2019 chief of staff. "We look forward to strengthening our partnership with Malaysia and improving our collective and individual ability to respond to any crisis in the region."
Working at the invitation of each host nation, Pacific Partnership brings together military and civilian personnel partner nations from Australia, Canada, Japan, Malaysia, Peru, the Philippines, South Korea, Thailand, the United Kingdom and the United States.
Pacific Partnership, now in its 14th iteration, is the largest annual multinational humanitarian assistance and disaster relief preparedness mission conducted in the Indo-Pacific. Each year, the mission team works collectively with host and partner nations to enhance regional interoperability and disaster response capabilities; increase stability and security in the region; and foster new and enduring friendships across the Indo-Pacific.