Members of the Pacific Angel 19-4 dental team tend to young patient at a health services outreach site in Lae, Papua New Guinea Sept. 9, 2019. Pacific Angel is multinational humanitarian assistance civil military engagement, improving military-to-military partnerships in the Pacific through medical health outreach, civic engineering projects and subject matter expert exchanges between U.S. service members, multinational militaries, non-governmental organizations, and PNG military and civilian participants. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Jerilyn Quintanilla)
JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii -- Operation Pacific Angel (PAC ANGEL) concludes its series of humanitarian response and disaster relief missions for 2019.
This year’s iterations provided medical care, engineering assistance and subject matter expert exchanges in Bangladesh, Mongolia, and Papua New Guinea.
Since 2007, PAC ANGEL engagements have impacted the lives of tens of thousands of people by providing health services ranging from dentistry, optometry, pediatrics and physical therapy to civil engineering programs, humanitarian aid and disaster relief and subject matter exchanges.
“PAC ANGELs facilitate regional, military, civilian, non-governmental cooperation and interoperability, while building community resiliency humanitarian assistance and disaster (HA/DR) relief through conducting concurrent Health Services Outreach (HSO), Engineering Civic Action Program (ENCAP), and Subject Matter Expert Exchanges (SMEEs),” said Gregory Fournier, Pacific Air Forces (PACAF)lead PAC ANGEL planner.
The health services outreach typically includes five clinics; primary care, optometry, physical therapy, pharmacy, and dental, and the engineering component includes various civic action projects at local schools or the restoration of other facilities.
The operations support host nation communities and enables the building of stronger regional partnerships.
During PAC ANGEL 19-4 in Papua New Guinea, U.S. Air Force Col. Darryl Insley, Pacific Air Forces exercises and engagements division chief, touted the relationship between the U.S. and the people of Papua New Guinea and how working together through the PAC ANGEL mission helped forge lasting relationships.
“I have personally witnessed the friendships develop between our partnerships,” said Insley. “We’ve all seen the smile on the children’s faces as we worked together to improve the quality of their education which will translate directly into a more prosperous Papua New Guinea and therefore the Indo-Pacific. We learned about your customs and traditions while sharing some of ours. You’ve dressed up our volunteers according to your local traditions…we’ve sung songs and played sports and games with your children. These are the little things that we will all remember that will forge lasting relationships.”
As PAC ANGEL is ever-growing, the planning team continues to adapt to change.
“Receiving contracts, securing logistical support, and locking in various organization support remains a challenge, especially when new and even more remote or austere provinces are visited with each iteration,” said Fournier.
Each PAC ANGEL mission provides opportunities to analyze effectiveness and incorporate lessons learned for future iterations.
“With each PAC ANGEL iteration in a given country, we see improvements in their host nation’s military, civilian, non-governmental cooperation and interoperability, airport reception of U.S. military aircraft, and planning and executing an effective and efficient disaster response,” said Fournier.
Across the three iterations of PAC ANGEL to execute in 2019, the health services outreach provided a variety of medical care to approximately 8,300 local individuals in multiple communities.
The 2019 engagements mark the 12th anniversary of the PAC ANGEL missions since its inception in 2007.