USNS MERCY, At Sea (NNS) - A team of eight personnel from the Royal Netherlands Armed Forces boarded Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) to help support Pacific Partnership 2012 (PP12), June 17.
The team will fill a variety of roles helping to strengthen the partnerships and the medical capability that PP12 provides in this year's host nations of Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam, and Cambodia.
"It is wonderful being aboard," said 2nd Lt. Anne Van De Ven, from Arnhem, Netherlands, who works as a scrub nurse in the operating room aboard Mercy. "Everyone aboard is very friendly and very interested in who I am, and where I come from. I think this is a wonderful experience for all of us to work together and exchange our collective knowledge and experiences."
The medical team includes a surgeon, an anesthesiologist and his assistant, two intensive care unit doctors and two radiology technicians.
Van De Ven said she hopes the Netherlands team can bring a different perspective to the mission.
"We are also looking forward to the chance to see and treat more patients with a wider variety of needs than we would in the Netherlands," said Van De Ven.
The medical team has been trained to work both fully independent from outside assistance as well as to be able to integrate with the medical teams from the rest of the host and partner nations.
Col. Michiel Bussink, the anesthesiologist with the medical team, said that he hopes the team from the Netherlands can teach as much to the PP12 crew as they hope to learn.
"Learning from one another and becoming more efficient at responding to crises, if and when they should occur, is the primary goal of this mission and of our team, noted Bussink. "I truly hope our presence here helps to achieve that goal."
Pacific Partnership is an annual U.S. Pacific Fleet humanitarian and civic assistance mission now in its seventh year that brings together U.S. military personnel, host and partner nations, non-governmental organizations and international agencies to build stronger relationships and develop disaster response capabilities throughout 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.