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Pacific Partnership combined search and rescue, oil spill training a first in Vietnam

15 May 2017

From MC2 Chelsea Milburn

Pacific Partnership 2017 and Vietnamese border guard, government agencies and NGOs conducted a first of its kind field training exercise, May 13.

DA NANG, Vietnam - Pacific Partnership 2017 and Vietnamese border guard, government, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) linked up for the first ever combined search and rescue (SAR) and oil spill response field training exercise (FTX) in Da Nang, May 13.

The exercise, which was centered around a simulated vessel collision, was coordinated by the U.S. Coast Guard and the Da Nang Department of Natural Resources and Environment, and also included partner nation participants from the United Kingdom, Australia and Japan.

"We've been coordinating with Vietnam, partner nations, and our department of defense counterparts to bring this all together for about eight months now," said U.S. Coast Guard Lt. Lucy Love. "The unique thing about this event is brining NGOs and multiple government agencies from Vietnam, the U.S., as well as partner nations together to collaborate and get an opportunity to get hands on and work together in a way we haven't done before."

At the simulated collision, five role players were recovered from the water by Da Nang border guard vessels with crew and embarked service members from the U.S. and U.K. and brought to the pier for decontamination and medical treatment by the combined team of medical personnel.

One member of that team, Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Igor Davidyuk, a fleet marine force corpsman assigned to Pacific Partnership 2017, said the FTX was a great opportunity to further the relationship built in other Pacific Partnership 2017 Da Nang events.

"After myself and a couple of the other corpsman ran a first responders course earlier this week with the Vietnamese medical team, it was awesome to see them put the skills we built together to use," said Davidyuk.

Davidyuk explained that during the FTX, his station was to receive patients post decontamination and direct them to the appropriate Vietnamese medical personnel, giving him a front row seat to seeing the Vietnamese team at work.

"When we first started the course, communicating as a team was an issue due to the language barrier, and today, they were successful in all of the things we had practiced together last week. Everyone did an awesome job!"

Now in its 12th year, Pacific Partnership continues to enhance regional partnerships and host nation relationships through civil-military cooperation, medical exchanges, and inter-government agency coordination.

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