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HONIARA, Solomon Islands - The Military Sealift Command joint high speed vessel USNS Millinocket (JHSV 3) arrived in Honiara, Solomon Islands, July 10 for the ship’s third stop of Pacific Partnership 2015.
Millinocket and embarked Task Force Forager, led by an expeditionary command element from the Navy's 30th Naval Construction Regiment (30 NCR) from Port Hueneme, California, are currently serving as the secondary platform for Pacific Partnership 2015. The primary platform for the mission is the Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH 19).
“The service members aboard the Millinocket are bringing a wealth of knowledge and numerous skill sets to the Solomon Islands,” said Lt. Col. Gregory Malone, the deputy commander of Task Force Forager. “From renovating schools to providing useful information to their medical professionals, I believe it will be a reciprocal learning experience for everyone involved.”
Medical teams will be providing care in specialty areas such a dentistry, optometry, obstetrics and gynecology, and veterinary care.
“We look forward to standing shoulder-to-shoulder with our counterparts as we conduct patient care together, thereby passing knowledge and learning from them as much as they might learn from us,” said U.S. Army Maj. Chris Caldwell, the medical task force executive officer. “We will also take advantage of any opportunity to provide lectures, discussions, demonstrations, and seminars.”
Pacific Partnership’s Seabees, comprised of Sailors from Amphibious Construction Battalion One and two civil engineer Marines, will renovate the Vura Primary School in Honiara.
“We are going to be working at the Vura School,” said Chief Steelworker Bradley Vanhorn, engineering assistant officer in charge, from Amphibious Construction Battalion 1. “We are going to install new doors and windows, electrical outlets and lighting, and install a new roof. None of the buildings are painted, so this is going to give the school a huge facelift.”
In another building at the school, the engineers will demolish a bathroom, repairing handrails and painting.
“Walking into a school that looks nice is going to be great for the kids,” said Vanhorn. “The kids are very interested in everything we are doing out there.”
Now in its tenth iteration, Pacific Partnership is the largest annual multilateral humanitarian assistance and disaster relief preparedness mission conducted in the Indo-Asia-Pacific Region. While training for crisis conditions, Pacific Partnership missions have provided medical care to approximately 270,000 patients and veterinary services to more than 38,000 animals. Additionally, the mission has provided critical infrastructure developments to host nations through the completion of more than 180 engineering projects.