SAN DIEGO – The Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) departed San Diego, marking the beginning of Pacific Partnership 2024-1, Oct. 10.
The U.S. Navy will join allied and partner nation forces for the 19th iteration of Pacific Partnership, the largest annual multilateral disaster response preparedness mission conducted in the Indo-Pacific region. This annual maritime humanitarian and civic assistance mission focuses on improving disaster response preparedness, resiliency and capacity while enhancing partnerships with participating nations and civilian humanitarian organizations throughout the region.
For this year's mission, medical and dental practitioners will be embarked on the 1,000-bed hospital ship. Aboard the Mercy, a combined 800 military and civilian personnel will support the multi-month mission led by U.S. Navy Capt. Brian Quin, PP24-1 mission commander, and Rear Adm. Mark A. Melson, PP24-1 executive agent under U.S. Pacific Fleet, and commander, Task Force 73.
“The Pacific Partnership mission teams work collectively each year with host and partner nations to strengthen existing regional interoperability, and increase disaster-response-capacity," said Melson. “I am honored to be part of this year’s mission because this annual mission helps increase security and stability in the region, while fostering new and enduring friendships in the Indo-Pacific.”
The Pacific Partnership mission team aboard the Mercy will make stops in the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Solomon Islands, Palau, and the Federated States of Micronesia. Experts in the fields of engineering, medicine and disaster response will partner with each host to conduct civic-action projects, community health exchanges, medical symposiums, and disaster response training activities.
“This mission reflects the continued commitment to the region and dedication to disaster-response-readiness from the United States, our partners and allies, and the host nations,” said Quin.
Engagements between Pacific Partnership participants and host nations ensure the international community is better prepared to function together when responding to a disaster emergency by increasing capacity, enhancing regional partnerships, and increasing multilateral cooperation for disaster preparedness.
The Pacific Partnership began in response to one of the world’s most catastrophic natural disasters, the December 2004 tsunami that devastated parts of 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.