VINH, Vietnam (NNS) - Chilean Navy First Lieutenant Ivan Paul arrived to support Pacific Partnership 2012 (PP12), 17 July, and has the honor of being the only service member representing the nation of Chile during the mission.

Paul is working with PP12’s medical staff and is performing check-ups both on and off the Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH 19), during PP12’s mission port in Vinh, Vietnam.

Paul said that as the only representative of Chile he has greatly enjoyed the work so far.

“I am here on the ship doing sick calls and working in the field at the medical civic action projects (MEDCAPs),” Paul said. “It is my job to collaborate with the other partner nation doctors and to help them in any way I can.”

As a general physician, Paul works in USNS Mercy’s sick call office seeing mainly adult patients from the different partner nations and non-governmental agencies aboard.

“It has been a very interesting experience working with and treating my fellow partner nation personnel,” relayed Paul. “I share with them so many experiences beyond just medicine and treatments.”

Paul went on to talk about the shared knowledge about different cultures, cities and countries among partner nations participating in the mission, “I have been able to see life through the eyes of people from other places around the world, and it has been an amazing experience.”

Paul was selected by the Chilean Government to participate in the mission during its stay in Vietnam.

“I was very excited when I learned I would be taking part in this mission,” he said. “I consider this a unique opportunity both as a doctor and for my country as a partner nation.”

Paul recognized that being the only representative from Chile is an honor and a great responsibility.

“I am the only Chilean, so what I do here will reflect on my country,” said Paul. “I feel participating in missions like PP12 are very important opportunities for Chile.”

“Being able to teach the world about who we are and the things we can do is important, and it is even more important to have the relationships with other countries around the Pacific that this mission helps to provide,” he said.

“It is even more important that we keep those friendships going after the mission, both to help if we should have to respond together in case of a natural disaster and also to help build relationships between our countries that bring us closer together in the world as a whole.”

Pacific Partnership, the largest annual U.S. Pacific Fleet humanitarian and civic assistance mission now in its seventh year, brings together U.S. military personnel, host and partner nations, non-government organizations and international agencies to build stronger relationships and develop disaster response capabilities throughout 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.