Lt. Cmdr. Justin Dye (center) performs spinal surgery at Da Nang Orthopedic and Rehabilitation Medical Center, May 16. (U.S. Navy/MC2 Joshua Fulton)

DA NANG, Vietnam - Pacific Partnership 2017 departed Da Nang, Vietnam, May 18, after completing 10 days of disaster response training, medical and engineering subject matter expert exchanges, cooperative health engagements, and community relations events.

This year marks the fourth consecutive year and the eighth time the mission has visited Vietnam in the past 11 years.

"Our time in Da Nang was another fantastic opportunity to continue our cooperation with the people of Vietnam, working together to improve our capability to respond to disaster relief and sharing medical and engineering best practices," said Capt. Stanfield Chien, Pacific Partnership mission commander.

Pacific Partnership and Vietnamese personnel conducted subject matter expert exchanges for a humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HA/DR) workshop that culminated in a field training exercise.

Three separate engineering projects were carried out by Vietnamese service members, U.S. Navy Seabees and U.S. Marine Corps combat engineers at the Hoa Lien Nursery School, Hoa Hai Medical Clinic, and Hoa Nhon Community Center. Pacific Partnership personnel from USNS Fall River (T-EPF-4) participated in games and activities at Tuong Lai Specialized School as part of a community relations project.

Around the city of Da Nang, a nine-member component of the U.S. 7th Fleet Band performed at various schools and gave public performances at Bach Dang Street, the Dragon Bridge on the Han River, and Bien Dong Beach Park.

"Pacific Partnership 17 and the USNS Fall River's visit to Da Nang show the depth of the U.S.-Vietnamese partnership, particularly in capacity to coordinate regional humanitarian assistance and disaster response," noted U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam Ted Osius. "Personnel from the United States and Vietnam worked together to train local medical professionals [and] build new classrooms for area school and a new multi-function community shelter, highlighting our shared focus on enhancing medical care, education and disaster preparedness as a driver for sustainable social and economic development."

The visit by USNS Fall River to Vietnam is in conjunction with the 22nd anniversary of the normalization of diplomatic relations between the United States and Vietnam. Along with other cooperation, Pacific Partnership underscores the deepening relationship between the United States and Vietnam.