KUCHING, Malaysia -- Senior mission leadership, host nation and partner nation participants attended the closing ceremony of the third Pacific Partnership 2019 (PP19) mission stop in Kuching, Malaysia, April 11.
“Throughout our time in Kuching, Sarawak, our collaborative efforts have demonstrated the United States Navy, and partner nations’ commitment to strengthening and sustaining our enduring partnership,” said Capt. Randy Van Rossum, PP19 Mission Commander. “We share a common interest to enable community resilience in times of crisis.”
During the two-week mission stop in Malaysia, participants from PP19, including the Malaysian Armed Forces, military personnel from other partner nations, and civilians from local government agencies, collaborated to complete four engineering projects, nine host nation outreach engagements, ten performances by the Pacific Fleet Band, 47 medical, dental and veterinary side-by-side subject matter exchanges, and 22 humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR) exchanges that culminated in an extensive field training exercise, simulating local response to a flooding disaster.
“All activities here were successfully conducted and the mission objectives have been met,” said Lt. Gen. Dato Suhaimi bin Hj Mohd Zuki.
Pacific Partnership began in response to one of the world’s most catastrophic natural disasters, 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.
Working at the invitation of each host nation, Pacific Partnership is joined by partner nations that include Australia, Canada, Japan, Malaysia, Peru, the Philippines, South Korea, Thailand, and the United Kingdom to strengthen disaster response preparedness around the Indo-Pacific region.
Malaysia is one of several host nations for Pacific Partnership 2019. The teams have also made stops in the Federated States of Micronesia, the Philippines, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and are scheduled to make stops in Thailand, Timor-Leste, and Vietnam. Experts in the fields of engineering, medicine and disaster response will partner with each host nation to conduct civic-action projects, community health exchanges, medical symposiums, and disaster response training activities.
“One thing we all know throughout the whole region: disasters don’t recognize country boundaries.”, said U.S. Navy Rear Adm. Joey Tynch, Task Force 73 commander. “It’s good for all of us to work together on these things and always be prepared. Because it’s not a question of if, but when we need each other. And when we need each other, it’s so nice to be on the radio or pick up the phone, and hear a voice you recognize, and that’s what Pacific Partnership is all about.”
Pacific Partnership’s mission is to work 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 region. Pacific Partnership, now in its 14th iteration, is the largest annual multinational humanitarian assistance and disaster relief preparedness mission conducted in the Indo-Pacific region.