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Army assists Pacific Partnership 2012

29 August 2012

From Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Clay M. Whaley

Operations Specialist 2nd Class Alvin Balthazar, assigned to the U.S. Pacific Fleet staff, received The American Legion's Spirit of Service Award Aug. 28 in recognition of his extensive volunteer efforts.

PACIFIC OCEAN (Aug. 29, 2012) - A dedicated team of U.S. Army service members, who set sail aboard Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) May 4, played a vital role to Pacific Partnership 2012 (PP12) mission success.

During PP12, 48 Soldiers worked alongside multiple branches of the U.S. military, host nations, partner nations and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to evaluate and treat more than 49,000 patients, 7,000 animals and perform 104 community service projects.

Soldiers supported various mission essential roles to include medical, dental, ophthalmological, veterinary, food service, dietary, security and civil affairs.

Civil Military Coordination Center Director Army Col. Michael Goedrich said a majority of the Soldiers are Army Reservists, who bring unique civilian skill sets, such as Civil Affairs and medical functional expertise. They have taken the opportunity to work alongside partner nations, host nations and NGOs.

"I think it has been a very unique opportunity to be able to spend this much time with the Navy sailing to four different host nations, and I think this is a experience the Soldiers will never forget," said Goedrich.

During PP12, Soldiers had the opportunity to work alongside 23 NGOs, 12 partner nations and four host nations to include Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam and Cambodia.

According to Goedrich, it is important to ensure that the international community is better synchronized and able to function together as a coordinated force when disaster strikes.

"Through numerous medical engagements, joint construction projects and key leader exchanges, we are enhancing our skill sets, building regional relationships and a collective ability to respond to natural disasters," said Goedrich.

Preventive Medicine leading petty officer Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Vincent P. Adriatico said it was outstanding and motivating to be able to work with our U.S. Army counterparts because they brought a unique set of skills, expertise and professionalism to the mission.

"If the Army wasn't here to support PP12, I don't think the mission would have been as successful as it has been because they took their roles and went above and beyond to accomplish the mission's objective" he said.

Now in its seventh year, Pacific Partnership is the largest annual humanitarian civic assistance mission in the Asia Pacific region, which brings together host and partner nations, NGOs and international agencies to build relationships and a collective effort to respond to natural disasters.

For more information about the PP12 mission, please visit the Pacific Partnership Blog or engage with Pacific Partnership on Facebook and Twitter.

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