USNS Mercy approaches the pier at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, March 3. (U.S. Navy/MC2 Katarzyna Kobiljak)

PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii - The Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) arrived at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam Hawaii, March 3, while en route for Pacific Partnership 2018.

During the visit, Pacific Partnership personnel will work side-by-side with local medical professionals to promote the mission, conducting routine maintenance, and load additional supplies onto the ship.

“Our team is excited to welcome more members of the Pacific Partnership mission on board as well as on loading additional mission supplies” said Capt. David Bretz, the mission commander. After this port call, we will meet up with our partner ship USNS Fall River in Guam and be one step closer to our first mission stops.”

During Pacific Partnership, Mercy and Military Sealift Command expeditionary fast transport USNS Fall River (T-EPF 4), the U.S. ships participating in this year's mission, will visit different Indo-Pacific nations, increasing the reach and scope of the mission's participants and host nation counterparts to conduct technical expertise exchanges in medical, engineering, and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HA/DR). Additionally, key leader and community engagement events will allow for direct engagement with local citizens and enhanced relationships with partner nation military and government leadership.

Pacific Partnership, now in its 13th iteration, is the largest annual multilateral HA/DR preparedness mission conducted in the Indo-Pacific. The mission's objective is to enhance regional coordination in areas such as medical readiness and preparedness for man-made and natural disasters.

Pacific Partnership 2018 consists of more than 500 U.S. military personnel stationed worldwide, working side-by-side with host nation counterparts to be better prepared for potential humanitarian aid and disaster response situations.