U.S. Navy Capt. Stanfield Chien receives a welcoming gift during the opening ceremony for Pacific Partnership 2017 Khanh Hoa. (U.S. Embassy Hanoi)

KHANH HOA, Vietnam - Pacific Partnership 2017 kicked off in Khanh Hoa province, Vietnam, on May 19, for the final stop of Pacific Partnership 2017, with the arrival of the U.S. expeditionary fast transport ship USNS Fall River (T-EPF 4).

This is the eighth time in eleven years that this event has taken place in Vietnam. This year's events in Khanh Hoa include personnel from the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, and Japan. Sailors and crew from the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force’s destroyers JS Izumo and JS Sazanami will also join mission personnel for the Khanh Hoa mission stop.

The Government of Vietnam approved Khanh Hoa province as a destination for Pacific Partnership, and the province collaborated with central government agencies and Pacific Partnership planners to organize the week and a half event, with the aim of enhancing humanitarian aid and disaster relief (HA/DR) and to promote the comprehensive partnership between the United States and Vietnam as well as collaboration among partner countries.

"We are especially excited to be working with our friends in Khanh Hoa during Pacific Partnership's second visit to the province. I anticipate robust interaction working alongside our Vietnamese counterparts while conducting engineering projects at schools and clinics and medical exchanges," said Captain Stanfield Chien, PP17 mission commander. "Our time here is about building relationships and the capability and capacity to work together in the future and join in community engagement activities."

In a continuation of the crisis management and response activities from PP16, Vietnamese and PP17 personnel will conduct subject matter expert exchanges (SMEE), provide training for Nha Trang city’s life guards, complete renovations of the Hoa Mi and Son Ca Kindergartens, and complete the delivery and installation of solar water heaters for the medical assistance facility located in the vicinity of Nha Trang. Also, the Seventh Fleet Band will perform at Yen Sao Park as well as Thanh Nien Park, and PP17 personnel will have a music performance at the Phan Chu Trinh Secondary School.

“After several very productive days in Da Nang, we’re glad to see Pacific Partnership 17 cooperation continue in Khanh Hoa. These activities will improve collective capacity and regional cooperation to respond to a disaster. Another very important part of Pacific Partnership is the high-level medical cooperation and knowledge exchange, thanks to over sixty international medical experts,” said U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam Ted Osius.

PP17 concluded a mission stop in Da Nang, Vietnam, earlier this week.

Now in its 12th year, Pacific Partnership continues to enhance regional partnerships and host nation relationships through civil-military cooperation, medical exchanges, and inter-government agency coordination.

JS Izumo (DDH 183) approaches the pier behind USNS Fall River (T-EPF 4) while arriving to support the Pacific Partnership 2017 mission. (U.S. Embassy Hanoi)