CHUUK, Micronesia -- Multinational service members embarked aboard USNS Brunswick (T-EFP 6) officially kicked off the fourth Pacific Partnership 2019 (PP19) mission stop with an opening ceremony in Chuuk, April 13, after having conducted mission-related activities on other islands in Micronesia over the previous two weeks.
Brunswick, a Military Sealift Command expeditionary fast transport ship, arrived at Weno Island, April 12, with service members from the United States, Great Britain, Australia and Peru, highlighting the multinational theme of the Pacific Partnership mission.
Brunswick had been conducting activities in the Lower Mortlock Islands since March 31, providing support in the aftermath of Typhoon Wutip, in close coordination with local authorities, the U.S. Embassy and USAID.
In his remarks at the opening ceremony, U.S. Ambassador to the Federated States of Micronesia Robert Riley emphasized the value of partnerships in the region.
“Pacific Partnership is a multinational effort to improve response to disasters,” he said. “Although we are using U.S. Navy ships with a crew that is predominantly American as a platform for disaster response, people of many nationalities participate side by side.”
“Over the last seven decades, the US has promoted a free and open Pacific, in which independent nations with diverse cultures and different aspirations can prosper side by side in freedom and peace,” he continued. “Pacific Partnership is emblematic of the close and historic bonds that bind together our two countries.”
This marks the sixth time Pacific Partnership has made a mission stop to the Federated States of Micronesia. While in Micronesia, PP19 is working with local government organizations to host several side-by-side and subject matter expert exchanges ranging from first aid, humanitarian aid and disaster relief (HADR), engineering projects, health symposiums and several community outreach engagements.
“The U.S. Navy and our mission partners value our growing partnerships with Pacific Partnership host nations and we look forward to helping promote greater cooperation and partnerships that benefit all nations,” said U.S. Navy Lt. j.g. Alexander Brecht, PP19 Micronesia officer in charge.
The mission in Chuuk got underway immediately following the ceremony, with a community health and sports fair at a local school.
U.S. Navy Cmdr. Toni Piliwale, Pacific Partnership 2019 assistant director for medical operations, was excited about the collaboration during the health fair.
“Pacific Partnership medical professionals from the U.S., Peru, and Australia spent time educating the community about environmental health, nutrition and exercise, and disease prevention. In addition, we were joined by local NGOs and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies to emphasize the important of disaster preparedness.”
Meanwhile, other service members played basketball, volleyball and Frisbee with local residents.
“Being able to go out to these different schools and parks and interact with the local children and see them smiling and having fun is always the highlight of my day,” said Religious Programs Specialist 1st Class Quentin Williams.
Pacific Partnership is a unifying mission that fosters enduring friendship and cooperation among many nations.
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 in the Indo-Pacific.