SAN DIEGO - The amphibious dock landing ship USS Pearl Harbor (LSD 52) departed its homeport of Naval Station San Diego, May 14, as the command platform for Pacific Partnership 2013.
This year's mission will take place in the Oceania region, where host nations will include Samoa, Tonga, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Papua New Guinea, Kiribati and the Solomon Islands.
The U.S. Navy will partner with non-governmental organizations and regional partners including Australia, Canada, France, Japan and New Zealand to improve maritime security, conduct humanitarian assistance and strengthen regional disaster response preparedness.
Adm. Cecil D. Haney, commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet said missions such as Pacific Partnership strengthen international relationships, build trust and open the kind of dialogue between leaders that are necessary to deter conflict and address some of the most urgent and complex issues of our time.
"The U.S. Pacific Fleet is always prepared for battle, but we also operate to preserve the peace," said Haney. He added that multilateral missions like Pacific Partnership provide a huge benefit to the maritime security of all participating nations by increasing regional stability leading to peace and prosperity.
This year's mission commander is U.S. Navy Capt. Wallace Lovely, commodore of Hawaii-based Destroyer Squadron 31. Lovely said this year's mission is unique in that it is the first to share mission leadership with partner nations.
"Australia will lead in Papua New Guinea, New Zealand will lead in both Kiribati and Solomon Islands, and the United States will lead in Samoa, Tonga and the Marshall Islands," said Lovely.
According to Lovely, sharing the lead responsibilities, and logistical resourcing among partner nations, will help the mission remain sustainable across of a range of future fiscal challenges. "I could not be more proud of the multilateral planning effort that has gone into this year's mission," Lovely said, "It has been a true team effort."
According to a U.S. Pacific Fleet release, Pacific Partnership, and missions like it, is a clear demonstration of the U.S. Navy's commitment to enhanced regional security and long-term stability throughout the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.