U.S. Navy Sailors assist as JS Kunisaki (LST 4003) departs Yokosuka for Pacific Partnership. (U.S. Navy/Lt. Jesus Uranga)

YOKOSUKA, Japan - The JS Kunisaki (LST 4003) departed Yokosuka, Japan, May 29 for the ninth annual multilateral humanitarian mission Pacific Partnership 2014 (PP14), taking place in five Southeast Asia host nations.

“This is a 60 day exercise to better prepare the joint effort of several nations at a time when humanitarian aid is requested,” said Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) Capt. Yoichi Matsui, PP14 deputy commander.

PP14 will be the first time a partner nation will provide the primary mission platform. The ship will feature a multinational command and control (C2) structure that will work together to train in simulated crisis-conditions as well as provide medical care, veterinary services and infrastructure development.

“We are at the starting point and we have some work ahead of us,” said Australian Lt. Col. John Cronin, PP14 chief of staff. “We are going to do a lot of work to make sure that we undertake this mission effectively, efficiently in a well coordinated and safe manner.”

Currently aboard the ship are over 260 members representing the JMSDF, U.S. Army, U.S. Navy, Autralian forces and non-governmental organizations (NGO).

“This mission’s success is measured by the performance of the operation ashore and how effective we have become as a unit,” said Capt. Brian Shipman, PP14 mission commander. “I look forward to working together over the next few weeks.”

The Kunisaki is scheduled to arrive in Vietnam as its first host nation followed by Cambodia and the Republic of the Philippines.

While training in simulated crisis-conditions, Pacific Partnership missions to date have provided real-world medical care to approximately 250,000 patients, veterinary services to more than 37,000 animals, accomplished more than 170 engineering projects, and enabled critical infrastructure development in Cambodia, Federated States of Micronesia, Indonesia, Kiribati, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Republic of the Philippines, Republic of Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Timor-Leste, Tonga, Vanuatu and Vietnam.