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NEWS | Jan. 23, 2024

Pacific Partnership 24-1 Concludes Final Mission Stop in Chuuk

By Ensign Lacy Burkett, Commander, Logistics Group Western Pacific

Pacific Partnership 24-1 (PP24-1) concludes 12 days of medical, engineering, host nation outreach efforts, and humanitarian and disaster response in the Federated States of Micronesia, closing out its final mission stop Jan 21.

This was Pacific Partnership’s second mission stop in the Federated States of Micronesia during their four-month humanitarian mission.

“So let this special friendship be as fast, as deep and an enduring one, that will span decades, islands and nations,” said Alexander Narruhn, governor of Chuuk, Federated States of Micronesia, while speaking to attendees at the closing ceremony of Pacific Partnership’s Chuuk mission stop. “Let it be practiced on good faith so we can strengthen regional security, unity, stability, collaboration and goodwill.”

Pacific Partnership is a unifying mission that fosters cooperation between nations. The Chuuk mission stop hosted personnel from the U.S. Navy, U.S. Army, U.S. Coast Guard, Royal Australian Navy, Royal Navy and German Navy to enhance capabilities across medical, humanitarian assistance disaster relief and host nation outreach lines of effort.

“Pacific Partnership is symbolic of the unity and spirit of cooperation that embodies the U.S.-FSM relationship, and our shared goal of an open, connected, prosperous, resilient, and secure Indo-Pacific,” said U.S. Embassy Kolonia Ambassador Jennifer Johnson.

Throughout their 12-day stop in Chuuk, PP24-1 teams conducted more than 150 medical engagements, including 2226 dental procedures. The optometry team distributed more than 1605 prescription glasses and 1442 pairs of sunglasses. Additionally, the Pacific Partnership medical team conducted 82 surgeries aboard Mercy.

“We rarely get this kind of service to the island and when we have, it’s usually on a limited basis, like they would have to be here for a few days,” said Inouefich Shomour, CEO of Chuuk Community Health Center. “This is different because we have these clinics, as well as up at the hospital. We have the community health centers where it is more exposed and accessible to people on the islands.”

In addition to medical care, U.S. Navy environmental health officers hosted three public health engagements to better inform the local populace of measures they can take for food storage and pest abatement to improve overall health and prevent common illnesses. During the Pest Abatement Course, 41 participants learned how to make reusable rat traps using common items easily found on the Island.

"Rodents, such as rats, are a major carrier of diseases such as leptospirosis. Many countries that we have visited are concerned about leptospirosis in their communities,” said U.S. Navy Lt. Westen Archibald, Pacific Partnership 24-1 entomologist. “By teaching local community members how to make at-home reusable rat traps from recycled materials, we help empower the communities to reduce rodent populations around their neighborhoods. This can reduce the likelihood of leptospirosis infections for humans and improve population and environmental health."

Seabees from Amphibious Construction Battalion One (ACB 1) enhanced host nation capabilities by working alongside Chuuk State Hospital for repairs to water supply system piping. In addition, ACB 1 conducted beautification of Anderson Field, a local sports field in Chuuk. At the sports field, ACB 1 made repairs to the basketball hoop and constructed soccer goals for recreational use by local children.

As part of the host nation outreach line of effort, the U.S. Pacific Partnership band, comprised of musicians from the U.S. Navy and Royal Australian Navy performed seven concerts for communities in Chuuk, including a public performance at Anderson Field. Pacific Partnership Sailors connected with the young people of Chuuk during sports days at local schools, creating bonds of friendships through the mutual love of sports.

“We know with Pacific Partnership, it's focused on developing capacity, but that capacity building in that partnership, it's a human work,” said U.S. Navy Lt. Joseph Frana, Pacific Partnership 24-1 chaplain. “And so it's all about a human connection. While we're learning together and developing technical skills, really at the heart of it is we're developing friendships.”

Members of the humanitarian relief and disaster response team also held seven engagements with members of the Chuuk State Department and local first responders. These engagements focused on quick response during disaster situations such as first aid, emergency messaging and communications and search and rescue operations.

Now in its 19th iteration, Pacific Partnership is the largest annual multinational humanitarian assistance and disaster relief preparedness mission conducted in the Indo-Pacific. Pacific Partnership works collaboratively with host and partner nations to enhance regional interoperability and disaster response capabilities, increase security and stability in the region, and foster new and enduring friendships in the Indo-Pacific.

For more information about Pacific Partnership and USNS Mercy, visit www.facebook.com/pacificpartnership, www.facebook.com/USNSMERCY, or https://www.msc.usff.navy.mil/ships/mercy

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