In this file photo, Pacific Partnership mission personnel man the rails as USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) departs Pearl Harbor earlier this month. (U.S. Navy/MC2 Johans Chavarro)

NAVAL BASE GUAM - Hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) arrived in Guam May 31 in support of Pacific Partnership 2016.

While in Guam, personnel aboard the ship will participate in a field training exercise to train mission personnel prior to the first mission stop. Mercy is also taking on supplies, additional crew, both civilian and military, during the stop.

After Guam, Mercy will visit Timor-Leste, the Republic of the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Indonesia, where Pacific Partnership personnel will participate in cooperative subject-matter expert and civil-military exchanges, focused on disaster response preparedness, emphasizing the importance of cooperation on regional scale.

Throughout the mission, crewmembers will engage in side-by-side humanitarian and disaster relief drills, medical, and civil-engineering training projects, as well as community health exchanges, medical and disaster preparedness symposia.

Pacific Partnership is in its 11th year and began in response to the December 2004 tsunami that devastated parts of Southeast Asia. Pacific Partnership 2016 is focused on enhancing relations and multi-national interoperability through knowledge exchange and side-by-side training, ensuring partner nations are prepared to respond when disaster strikes.

Pacific Partnership 2016 will increase regional stability, security, open dialogue between leaders, and foster new and enduring friendships across the Indo-Asia-Pacific.

“I think it’s a great opportunity and I feel honored to be a part of the mission and to augment the staff that’s aboard,” said Lt. Col. Andrew Rice, deputy chief of staff of Pacific Partnership 2016. “I’m really looking forward to our deployment to the five countries this summer and to working with military personnel from the other services and to work on the same staff with partner nations.”