In this file photo, USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) sits anchored off Bengkulu, Indonesia, in March. (U.S. Navy/MC3 Cameron Pinske)

TRINCOMALEE, Sri Lanka - U.S and partner nation service members participating in Pacific Partnership 2018 arrived in Trincomalee aboard the U.S. Navy hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH 19), April 25.

The mission in Trincomalee will continue through May 8 and will feature Pacific Partnership doctors and medical personnel working side-by-side with Sri Lankan medical professionals to exchange best practices. Additionally, U.S. and partner nation service members will join their Sri Lankan counterparts in civil engineering projects, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HA/DR) readiness seminars and public outreach engagements throughout the local community.

"I am very excited to see our team working with side-by-side with the people of Sri Lanka," said Capt. David Bretz, the mission commander for Pacific Partnership 2018. "Through Pacific Partnership, we are building bonds of trust, friendship and partnership with the Sri Lankan people that will help us prepare together for a multitude of contingencies that our nations face with manmade and natural disasters. We are honored to be guests in this country and work beside our Sri Lankan counterparts."

Pacific Partnership is the largest annual multilateral disaster response preparedness mission conducted in the Indo-Pacific. This year's mission includes military and civilian personnel from the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, France, Peru and Japan.

"Pacific Partnership 2018 offers an excellent opportunity for the U.S. and Sri Lankan militaries to serve Sri Lankans in need and expand our growing partnership in humanitarian and disaster relief," said U.S. Ambassador to Sri Lanka and the Maldives Atul Keshap. "From medical clinics to free public concerts, our sailors will bring the best of America to local communities."

USNS Mercy made previous stops in the 2018 mission in Bengkulu, Indonesia and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. After departing Sri Lanka, USNS Mercy will make mission stops in Vietnam and Japan strengthening alliances, partnerships, and multilateral cooperation throughout the Indo-Pacific region.

Pacific Partnership 2018 consists of more than 800 U.S. and partner nation military and civilian personnel working side-by-side with host nation counterparts to be better prepared for potential humanitarian aid and disaster response situations.