SIHANOUKVILLE, Cambodia (Aug. 2, 2012) - physical therapists and technicians are fulfilling the vital roles of prevention, education and care for patients and participants alike during Pacific Partnership.

The physical therapy (PT) team provides post-operative PT care while providing long lasting education on how to reduce the risk of future injury.

Along with care for host nation patients, PT focuses on providing their services to service members, non-government organization personnel and partner nation personnel to help keep them engaged in the mission.

Physical Therapy department head Lt. Bradley Wells said his team provides equal care to everyone.

"We provide a lot of education and classes for everyone, including host nation patients both aboard the ship and at the medical civic action projects (MEDCAP)."

Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Vinson Ilog said education is one of the key, long lasting services the team provides, especially to patients seen at MEDCAPs. Training provided includes the importance of taking breaks, posture, basic stretches, wound care management and strengthening exercises. The team also provides translated handouts with much of the information given as well as picture diagrams of the various exercises.

"We also provide assistive devices," he said. "We have had some patients come to us who could barely walk and in some cases, were crawling, but we were able to help them by providing crutches and canes."

Wells said the team provides similar care and education to PP12 participants to maintain mission readiness.

"Our goal is to help them stay in the mission," he said. "The important thing is that if we can see people early, we can usually get their pain to completely go away. Getting people out of pain allows them to help other people and allows them to continue on the mission. We are trying to keep people safe and helping people get better if they are in pain."

The physical therapy treats people aboard the Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) as well as at MEDCAPs held at the current host nation of Cambodia. They provided the same care while PP12 was in Indonesia, Philippines and Vietnam.

Now in its seventh year, Pacific Partnership is an annual U.S. Pacific Fleet humanitarian and civic assistance mission U.S. military, host and partner nations, non-governmental organizations and international agencies designed to build stronger relationships and disaster response capabilities in the Asia-Pacific region.

For more information about the PP12 mission, please visit the Pacific Partnership Blog or engage with Pacific Partnership on Facebook and Twitter.