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Pacific Partnership Wraps Up Mission in Indonesia

09 June 2014

From MC1 Stephen Oleksiak

The Indonesia phase concluded June 9 after several weeks of work and professional exchanges on a variety of topics by members of the multinational Pacific Partnership team and their hosts.

WEST KUPANG, Indonesia - Guests and service members from Indonesia, New Zealand, Singapore and the United States attended a ceremony which concluded the mission of Pacific Partnership (PP14) 2014 in Kupang and Rote Ndao at the Tuadale School in West Kupang, Indonesia, June 9.

The PP14 mission in Kupang and Rote Ndao was made up of numerous cultural and interoperability engagements between the four nations. Service members, government officials and volunteers performed multiple information exchanges on topics such as entomology, ophthalmology, dental and veterinary practices, while engineers and U.S. Navy Seabees worked on several engineering projects to include a new classroom at the Tuadale School in West Kupang, a medical facility in Baun and two solar-powered water pumps on the isle of Rote Ndao.

During the ceremony (see related video report), leaders reflected upon the efforts put forth by all who were involved and expressed their thanks for all the hard work. Indonesian Navy First Adm. Deddy M. Pribadi, commander of the 7th Primary Naval Base, commented on the willingness and capability of the personnel involved in these projects.

"It was complicated to perform all of these activities simultaneously with limited resources," said Pribadi. "The events ran very smoothly, and I am thankful for all the participants and supporters who contributed to the success of these events."

U.S. Navy Capt. Rodney Moore, commodore of the 30th Naval Construction Regiment, said the increased interoperability between the participants and these triumphs would impact the people of Kupang for years to come.

"Our projects and engagements improved cooperation between the U.S., Indonesian militaries, non-government organizations and local government officials gave us a chance to improve our technical and management skills," said Moore. "By working shoulder to shoulder with our Indonesian and humanitarian partners, we built trust, respect and teamwork, and exchanged techniques. The intent was to impart knowledge and skills that will last well after the mission is over."

But it was not only leadership who felt the impact of these relationships. For many, the opportunity to work with other nations was rewarding, and they were impressed by their willingness to learn from each other (see photos and more video from the mission).

"The Indonesian Marines are very proficient at their jobs," said Builder 3rd Class Charles Cummings, assigned to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 1. "They saw us do a job and then they'd take the tools, and they would do it just as well as we did on their first try. Then we would show them some new methods and they would just run with it and then build upon what they already knew."

Many of the local service members said that they enjoyed having people from other nations to work with and look forward to working with them again in the future. One Indonesian Marine said he wishes that he could work with them every year.

"Pacific Partnership goes beyond the numbers of people providing medical, dental, and veterinary services, or the number of patients seen or the structures that are built," said Moore. "We believe this is a more sustainable approach and is better suited to empower the local community. Our goal is that the relationships we fostered and skills we exchanged will outlast any physical infrastructure we put in place."

As PP14 wraps up its mission in Kupang and Rote Ndao, participants are gearing up for the next episode of the mission in Dili, Timor-Leste, to begin in a few days.

Pacific Partnership is in its ninth iteration and is the largest annual multilateral humanitarian assistance and disaster relief preparedness mission conducted in the Asia-Pacific region.

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