JAFFNA, Sri Lanka -- The United States, Bangladesh, Nepal, Maldives and Sri Lanka began Operation Pacific Angel 16-3 in Jaffna, Sri Lanka, Aug. 15.
Operation PACANGEL is a total force, joint and combined humanitarian assistance/civil-military operation led by Pacific Air Forces. Assistance through Aug. 19 includes general health, dental, optometry, physical therapy and engineering programs as well as various subject-matter expert exchanges.
“The health services operation site sees the local nationals and are providing medical care while our civil engineers are working with their Sri Lankan counterparts to restore facilities in the area,” said Lt. Col. Edward Khim, PACANGEL 16-3 mission commander. “The great thing about being here is our doctors are receiving hands on training with real patients in an austere environment, allowing them to treat things they wouldn’t see back at their base clinics; and our engineers are able to gain knowledge while working with multilateral militaries.”
Approximately 60 members of the U.S. military, in partnership with local non-governmental organizations and host nation military forces, will conduct HA/CMO throughout the operation. PACANGEL will help enhance participating nations’, including Sri Lanka’s humanitarian assistance and disaster relief capabilities.
“This is my first humanitarian trip,” said Maj. June Lee. “I wanted to do something out of my daily routine and this is very rewarding being able to provide access to medical care and see how we impact the locals. It’s also a great opportunity to build our relationship with our bilateral partners.”
Officially in its ninth year, PACANGEL will be used to improve and build relationships in the event of future humanitarian assistance and disaster relief efforts. Since 2007, U.S. military members, together with host nation military and civilian personnel throughout the region have improved the lives of tens of thousands of people through PACANGEL operations.
“Participating in PACANGEL has opened my eyes to the wonderful culture of Sri Lanka,” said Tech. Sgt. Maybelle McKinney-Martin, 35th Medical Group physical therapy flight chief. “Learning how to communicate has been a difficult but very rewarding challenge. Just being able to help the Sri Lankan community alongside other nations has been a wonderful experience.”