Naval Aviators Put Feet On Ground, Help Renovate Vietnamese Medical Clinic
VINH, Vietnam - Helicopter squadron pilots aboard Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) leant a helping hand to a multinational team of engineers who are renovating the Hung Tien Medical Clinic, July 17, during Pacific Partnership 2012.
The pilots, members of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 21’s ‘Blackjacks’, painted window grates and walls, and helped with various other projects around the engineering civic action project (ENGCAP).
Navy Lt. Brittany Manley, one of the pilots, said the experience was different from the normal duties the pilots have on the mission.
“It gave us the chance to get hands on with the mission and do something we wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity to do in other countries,” she said.
“It was a good change of pace and a chance to interact with people involved in different activities.”
“We were really happy to get the chance to come out here and get our hands dirty.”
The engineering team was equally happy to have help during the project.
Builder Constructionman Kory Banes said having the help allowed them to focus on other projects around the site.
“They didn’t do the most exciting stuff,” he said, “but they were happy to be part of the process of doing something great for this community.”
Manley said the pilots integrated and interacted, not only to help accomplish the project, but to get to know the other people working at the site.
“Instead of flying these guys out to the sites, we got to see what they actually do,” she said.
The Hung Tien medical clinic is expected to be finished and celebrate a ceremonial opening before PP12 continues to their next mission port of Cambodia, July 24.
Now in its seventh year, Pacific Partnership is an annual Pacific Fleet humanitarian and civic assistance mission U.S. military, host and partner nations, non-governmental organizations and international agencies designed to build stronger relationships and disaster response capabilities in the Asia Pacific region.