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VINH, Vietnam - Reserve Deputy Commander and Chief of Staff, U.S. Pacific Fleet, Rear Adm. Russell S. Penniman hosted a breakfast recognizing four parent-child pairs of crewmembers deployed in support of Pacific Partnership 2012 (PP12), July 23.
The parent child pairs consist of Dr. Mary Hartman and her daughter Anna Grove, Dr. Randy Jungman along with his son Nick Jungman, Lt. Cmdr. Emily Zywicke and her father Dr. John Zywicke and Dr. Kenneth Bakken and his son Trygve Bakken.
Dr. Beth Hartman, a dermatologist, works with the PP12 medical team to provide care to patients at medical civic action projects (MEDCAPs).
"Being deployed as mother and daughter is fabulous," said Hartman. "We work in two completely different specialties of medicine and will probably never get the chance to work together like this again. To be able to spend this time on PP12 with my daughter as a professional is probably going to be the first and last time we ever get this chance."
Anna Grove is a medical student at the University of California San Diego (UCSD) and an anesthesiologists assistant.
"It has been just wonderful working with my mom," said Grove. "Growing up in medicine and now working in medicine, my mom was always my role model. Getting to see her out here on PP12 working with patients and managing care so effectively really makes me proud to be her daughter and it has been really special."
Grove and her mother joined PP12 after Grove was introduced to UCSD Pre-Dental Society by working in a student run free clinic in San Diego.
"Being on this mission with my daughter has definitely made our bond stronger," said Hartman. "I don't know if I will ever be able to spend time with her like this again in such a professional setting."
Rear Adm. Penniman thinks having four "family teams" supporting PP12 is exceptional.
"Once members of the various NGO's understand the hard nature of the work, and the conditions under which they'll have to live, for them to come back to participate in repeat missions means they're truly passionate about supporting Pacific Partnership," said Penniman. For a mother to invite a daughter, or a father to invite a son, or vice versa, means that passion is being shared across generations."
Dr. Randy Jungman, a dentist working with the UCSD Pre-Dental Society, and his son Nick Jungman, a dental technician and student at UCSD, is one such family.
"Four years ago, I went on PP08 with my oldest son so when Nick expressed interests in dentistry I saw this as another opportunity to come out here and participate," Dr. Jungman said. "This is an opportunity for him to come and explore aspects of dentistry he wouldn't get to see back home and for me it was a chance to meet new different and exciting people and see more of the world and spend time with him."
Nick Jungman said being deployed with his dad gives him a support system and a friend that makes deployment more enjoyable.
"We have spent a lot of time together and have really gotten to know more about each other than we possibly ever had before," said Nick. "When we are at home I am in college and he is working so we don't really get to see each other as much as we would like so to be here where I can see him and talk to him every day is amazing."
Not all of the families working with PP12 are civilians. Retired Army Capt. John Zywicke and his daughter, Lt. Cmdr. Emily Zywicke, work in the Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Mercy's (T-AH 19) pharmacy.
In addition to working with his daughter this is also John's first time returning to Vietnam since serving as the Executive Officer of the Medical Clearing Company with 82nd Air Borne in Phu Loi, Vietnam.
"It turns out that our pharmacy paths crossed by fact that Emily is the Pharmacy Department Head on board the USNS Mercy, and I was the Pharmacy Officer for the Medical Command while stationed in Long Binh, Vietnam," said John. "After 44 years in the pharmacy profession and my two years in the U.S. Army, it is very humbling to work with my daughter and give back to people less fortunate than ourselves."
Emily said it is interesting to do many of the same duties her father performed 43 years ago.
"His duties included inventory management, performing clinic pharmaceutical inspections within Vietnam, pharmaceutical, medical and surgical equipment procurement and reviewing medication requests from Australian, Thailand, and Korean medical forces," she said. "43 years later, I am performing the same duties under a different platform, but in the same country."
Dr. Kenneth Bakken, a physician, and his son Trygve Bakken, a fourth year medical student at UCSD, were also involved in providing medical care during the Vietnam mission.
All of these families along with the hundreds of other volunteers and service members from around the world worked together to provide medical, dental, veterinary and engineering civic action projects as well as community service engagements to the people of Vietnam during PP12's two week mission there.
Now in its seventh year, Pacific Partnership is an annual U.S. Pacific Fleet humanitarian and civic assistance mission U.S. military, host and partner nations, non-governmental organizations and international organizations designed to build stronger relationships and disaster response capabilities in 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.