NHA TRANG, Vietnam (NNS) -- Service members and partner nation personnel participating in Pacific Partnership 2018 aboard the hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH 19), arrived in Nha Trang, Vietnam, May 17.
The mission in Nha Trang will continue through June 2 and feature U.S. and partner nation personnel working side-by-side with Vietnamese medical professionals, participating in civil engineering projects, conducting humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HA/DR) readiness drills, and partnering in community outreach engagements.
This year's Pacific Partnership mission in Nha Trang will be joined by personnel from the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force embarked in JDS Osumi (LST 4001) along with personnel from USNS Brunswick (T-EPF-6), the secondary mission platform for Pacific Partnership. Mercy's visit marks the second consecutive visit by the Pacific Partnership mission to the greater Nha Trang area with a visit by USNS Fall River (T-EPF-4) for last year's mission.
"I really value the knowledge and best practices we will exchange with our Vietnamese partners in the coming days," said Capt. David Bretz, Pacific Partnership mission commander. "Being prepared for natural disasters is crucial to the stability of this region and I look forward to all the great experiences we will have during our visit as we continue to strengthen our partnership with Vietnam."
During Pacific Partnership 2018, mission personnel embarked on USNS Mercy and USNS Brunswick are conducting visits to nations throughout the Indo-Pacific region, enhancing strategic partnerships and increasing cooperation and readiness for manmade and natural disasters. The mission is also reaching people and impacting the lives of every day citizens at every mission stop through the various medical engagements, civil engineering projects, HA/DR seminars, and community outreach events in the local communities.
"I'm proud to have Pacific Partnership back in Nha Trang for 2018. This mission demonstrates U.S. support for a strong, prosperous, and independent Vietnam and our commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific. Over the next two weeks, we'll see U.S. and Vietnamese personnel working together on everything from cutting-edge medical exchanges to repairing and improving schools damaged in last year's floods," said U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam Daniel J. Kritenbrink.
Pacific Partnership, now in its 13th iteration, is the largest annual multilateral HA/DR preparedness mission conducted in the Indo-Pacific. Pacific Partnership's objective is to enhance regional coordination in areas such as medical readiness and preparedness for man-made and natural disasters.
Pacific Partnership 2018 consists of more than 800 U.S., partner nation, and allied military personnel, working side-by-side with host nation counterparts to be better prepared for potential humanitarian aid and disaster response situations.