SIHANOUKVILLE, Cambodia - Pacific Partnership 2012 (PP12) held an opening ceremony, July 29, to kick off a two-week mission across four provinces including Sihanoukville, Koh Kong, Kampot, and Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
Pacific Partnership is making its second trip to Cambodia, having last visited in 2010. The 2012 multinational and multi-organization military and civilian crew of more than 1,100 people is here for a two-week visit, the fourth and final mission port for the four-and-a-half month deployment.
Rear Adm. Russell Penniman, reserve deputy commander and chief of staff for U.S. Pacific Fleet attended the ceremony and gave opening remarks.
During the ceremony he said, "I admire and applaud the work that has gone into the combined planning process, which began almost a year ago."
"I believe Cambodia, along with Pacific Partnership, has shaped a great mission. One that will meet your objectives and that will benefit the people of Sihanoukville, Kampot, Koh Kong and Phnom Penh."
The audience of combined Cambodian, U.S. and partner nation militaries, and non-government organization (NGO) representatives also heard from high-ranking military and government officials including Vice Admiral Tea Vinh, of the Kingdom of Cambodia Ministry of Defense; and, Jeff Daigle, Charge d' Affaires, a.i. for the U.S. Embassy in Phnom Penh.
In addition to remarks, M'lop Tapang Center for Street Children performed two traditional Cambodian dances to give blessings and entertain the crowd.
Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Ryan Crosson was one of the 50 participants in attendance for the event.
"The local dance from kids was great. It gave a feel for the local scene and their traditions," said Crosson.
While in Cambodia, PP12 will take part in a series of medical, surgical, engineering and veterinarian civic action programs in addition to various subject matter expert exchanges across the four provinces.
For 2012, the mission in Cambodia brings together eight partner nations, 12 non-government organizations, and the enormous capabilities of the hospital ship USNS Mercy as it partners with the local department of health and military on medical and dental, veterinary, and civil engineering civic action projects.
Now in its seventh year, Pacific Partnership is an annual Pacific Fleet humanitarian and civic assistance mission U.S. military, host and partner nations, non-governmental organizations and international agencies designed to build stronger relationships and disaster response capabilities in the Asia Pacific region.
For more information about the PP12 mission, please visit the Pacific Partnership Blog or engage with Pacific Partnership on Facebook and Twitter.