PACIFIC OCEAN - Multinational service members participating in Pacific Partnership 2019 have departed the Republic of the Marshall Islands aboard Military Sealift Command expeditionary fast transport ship USNS Brunswick (T-EPF 6), March 28.
This is Pacific Partnership’s fourth visit to Marshall Islands since their first time in 2007. Service members from the United States, United Kingdom, Japan, and Australia worked alongside Marshallese in Majuro and Kwajalein to host events ranging from humanitarian assistance/disaster relief seminars (HADR), engineering projects, medical partnerships and host nation engagements.
HADR events conducted during Pacific Partnership’s visit included topics such as emergency response, search and rescue, and risk management.
“It is awesome, the power of working together with those who share common values – a common belief,” said U.S. Navy Rear Adm. Joey Tynch, Commander, Task Force 73. “With disaster emergencies, it is not if, but when. Nothing we do will prevent that, but we can prepare and build resilience.”
The engineering projects led by the U.S. Army included construction and renovation of a garden, building a mulch station for fertilizer, installing eight water tanks, and repairing the roof for approximately 10 classrooms for the Marshallese students of Long Island Elementary School in less than two weeks.
“We were taken aback by the cooperation and gratitude we received from the staff, faculty, and students of Long Island Elementary School,” said U.S. Army 1st Lt. Megan Rogers. “The energy and excitement from the children each day really motivated the team throughout our short time in Majuro. We hope that our project benefits the children and surrounding community for many years to come.”
The PP19 engineering team included a Marshall Islands native who used the mission as an opportunity to make a difference in his homeland.
“I’m very blessed and humbled to be a part of PP19,” said U.S. Army Sgt. Joseia Lemari. “I’d like to thank my leadership for choosing me to contribute to the mission and to give back to my community.”
PP19’s medical team worked side-by-side with Marshallese medical staff caring for patients and exchanging information at Majuro Hospital. They also held community health fairs and training workshops.
“My experience has been extremely rewarding and made me appreciate being a nurse even more,” said Lt. Kaitlyn VanGunten, a wound care specialist. “It was great for us to be here to create and enhance these partnerships with the Marshallese while helping them improve the care for their community in a resource-limited area.”
Pacific Partnership held host nation engagements in several schools in the Marshall Islands interacting with Marshallese children providing sports and health education.
“I loved playing with the students of Assumption School,” said Information Systems Technician 1st Class Raymond D. Cantong. “As a single father, interacting with them made it easier for me being away from my daughter because it reminded me of the interactions we have together and it was great to have to opportunity to share experiences with the kids of the Marshall Islands.”
Pacific Partnership, now in its 14th iteration, is the largest annual multinational humanitarian assistance and disaster relief preparedness mission conducted in the Indo-Pacific. Each year, the mission team works collectively with host and partner nations to enhance regional interoperability and disaster response capabilities, increase stability and security in the region, and foster new and enduring friendships in the Indo-Pacific.
See more Pacific Partnership images and news on the mission's DVIDS feature page.