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GUAM - Vice Adm. Matthew L. Nathan, the U.S. Navy's Surgeon General and chief of the Bureau of Medicine and Surgery, visited the Pacific Partnership 2012 (PP12) crew aboard Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) May 22.
While aboard, Nathan conducted an all hands call to tell the crew of nearly 1,000 service members and civilians how important the PP12 mission and all humanitarian missions are to Navy medicine and to the world.
"I think one thing that is common to everyone in the world, no matter where you live or what you do is health care and trying to maintain well being," said Nathan. "By doing this mission and creating these types of partnerships, by showing this kind of compassion, by using ships that were initially built years before and transformed to be used for humanitarian assistance, engagement, and cooperation, truly shows the Navy is a global force for good."
Nathan was surrounded by hundreds of health care providers including doctors, nurses, corpsman and a wide of other Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) participants, all who are preparing for the first mission port of Indonesia.
"When I found out the surgeon general was going to visit before we left for the start of our first mission port, I thought it really showed the true testament to the meaning of this mission and the incredible impact of pacific partnership," Cmdr. Matthew Provencher, Mercy director of surgical services.
The visit from the surgeon general inspired members of the crew who are ready to start the mission and provide humanitarian civic assistance and conduct subject matter expert exchanges with the host nations of Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Cambodia.
"The surgeon general's speech was incredibly inspiring and told a wonderful story of what lies ahead for our mission, not only the challenges awaiting us, but also the host nations, the patients and our team effort and training to prepare in calm to respond in a crisis situation," said Provencher.
Pacific Partnership is an annual U.S. Pacific Fleet humanitarian and civic assistance mission designed to work by, with and through host and partner nations, non-governmental organizations and international agencies to build partnerships and a collective ability 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.