Sihanoukville, Cambodia - Pacific Partnership 2010’s arrival in Cambodia was honored during a pierside opening ceremony June 16. USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) and JDS Kunisaki (LST 4003) will support the 11-day visit, Pacific Partnership’s first to Cambodia.

In the presence of the U.S. and Japanese Ambassadors, numerous Cambodian Officials and Flag and General Officers, and other distinguished guests, Pacific Partnership 2010 Mission Commander, Capt. Lisa M. Franchetti described the significance of this opportunity to visit Cambodia.

“It is indeed an honor for us to be here,” said Franchetti. “We hope this endeavor will further strengthen the ties between our countries ... and enrich a friendship which has already begun.”

Service members from the Mercy, Sailors and embarked medical personnel from the Kunisaki, have joined partner nations, non-governmental organizations, and other U.S. government agencies to take part in medical, dental, veterinary, and engineering humanitarian and civic action programs scheduled to take place in the provinces of Sihanouk, Ratanakiri, Kampong Cham, Kampong Spue, and Kampot.

It is anticipated that thousands of patients will be seen at eight medical and dental civic action program sites, and many more will undergo surgery aboard Mercy. Three water wells in two provinces will also be installed by a contingent of U.S. Navy engineers, known as Seabees, who have been in-country since May 22, and Australian engineers who joined the team yesterday.

Pacific Partnership 2010 will also help enrich relations amongst all participants and increase skills necessary to respond in a time of need.

Subject matter expert exchanges scheduled throughout the 11-day visit will serve as opportunities for everyone involved to learn from one another, and community service projects and cultural exchanges will provide another opportunity for further engagement with the local communities.

While this is Pacific Partnership’s inaugural visit to Cambodia, it is also an opportunity to reflect on Cambodian – U.S. relations.

“This visit also comes just before the embassy of the U. S. and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs kick off our celebration of the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the U. S. and Cambodia,” said U.S. Ambassador to Cambodia, Carol Rodley.

“In Cambodia, we are joined by Australia, Canada, France, Japan, the United Kingdom, and many NGOs: Civic Force, the East Meets West Foundation, HUMA, International Relief Teams, Latter-day Saint Charities, Operation Smile, Operation Unies, Peace Winds America, Peace Winds Japan, Project Hope, UCSD Pre-Dental Society, Veterinarians Without Borders, World Vets,” said Franchetti. “People from all of these organizations – all of these countries – will be working side-by-side, learning from you and learning from each other while forming strong bonds and friendships.”