Pacific Partnership Departs Samoa for Tonga
APIA, Samoa - The amphibious dock landing ship USS Pearl Harbor (LSD 52) departed Samoa, the first mission port of Pacific Partnership 2013, June 10.
Mission personnel consisting of U.S. service members, partner nation service members and non-governmental organizations conducted various projects throughout Samoa over the past seven days including multiple community service projects totaling more than 1,600 man-hours.
"For the people in pain we could see that we were helping them," said Royal Australian Air Force Leading Aircraft Woman Kymberley Monck, a dental assistant who conducted exams and tooth extractions throughout the past week.
Monck said the patients she saw couldn't always communicate because of language barriers, but they seemed to be appreciative.
U.S. Navy Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Harred Ang, who specializes in pediatric care, manned the rails as USS Pearl Harbor pulled out of port. He spent the past week providing care at a health clinic on the island of Savai'i, serving close to 250 children.
"I'm really going to miss Samoa," said Ang. "I feel a bond with the local people."
U.S. Navy Capt. Wallace Lovely, Pacific Partnership 2013 mission commander, called the weeklong efforts in Samoa "a resounding success" during the June 8 closing ceremony.
Over the past week, Pacific Partnership medical and dental professionals triaged 2,633 patients, veterinary staff evaluated 430 animals and divers surveyed more than 500 underwater acres.
Throughout the projects, dozens of subject matter expert exchanges were conducted between Pacific Partnership personnel and Samoans for the purpose of sharing knowledge.
Pacific Partnership builds relationships with host countries and partner nations to improve maritime security, conduct humanitarian assistance and strengthen disaster preparedness with practiced and tested procedures. Partner nations this year include Australia, Canada, Colombia, France, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore and South Korea working at the invitation of host nation countries.
USS Pearl Harbor is now on its way to Tonga, the next mission port of Pacific Partnership 2013.