JS Shimokita (LST 4002) sits at anchor off Koror, Palau, during Pacific Partnership 2016. (JMSDF photo)

KOROR, Palau - Pacific Partnership 2016 departed Palau Aug. 15 aboard JS Shimokita (LST 4002) after completing two weeks of medical and engineering initiatives designed to promote cooperation and knowledge exchange between local authorities and the multinational Pacific Partnership team.

While in Palau, the Pacific Partnership team made up of service members and civilians from Japan, Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States, worked alongside civilian and military leadership to conduct cooperative health engagements, civil-engineering projects, and subject matter expert exchanges in nursing and pharmacy, all focused on improving partner nations' collective ability to respond to a variety of natural disasters. The visit to Palau is part of the wider Pacific Partnership 2016 mission, building cooperation between partner nations.

Medical engagements included eye surgery, patient care aboard a vision van brought from Japan for the mission, and basic life support and dental subject matter expert exchanges between Pacific Partnership and Palau medical providers.

Japan Self-Defense Force engineers and U.S. Navy Seabees worked together to complete three engineering capability projects at Koror Elementary School, Palau High School and Belau National Hospital.

Additionally, Pacific Partnership personnel volunteered their time to clean up a Japanese naval cemetery on the island, and Shimokita hosted local citizens aboard for tours of the ship and a reception for Palau and partner nation dignitaries.

While Shimokita was in Palau, an additional element of the Pacific Partnership 2016 team was aboard hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) in Malaysia conducting similar engagements. Pacific Partnership and Mercy are now sailing to Indonesia for the final mission stop of 2016.

Pacific Partnership 2016 is focused on enhancing relationships and multinational-interoperability through knowledge exchange and training, ensuring partner nations are prepared to collectively and effectively respond when disaster strikes. Pacific Partnership is the largest annual multilateral humanitarian assistance and disaster relief preparedness mission conducted in the Indo-Asia-Pacific.