YOKOSUKA, Japan (NNS) -- Service members participating in Pacific Partnership 2018 (PP18) aboard Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) arrived Yokosuka for a port call, June 10.
The purpose of the visit is to enhance relationships and promote goodwill between members of the U.S. armed forces and Japanese citizens, while demonstrating the capabilities of the ship. The crew of Mercy has already begun building these relationships while working with the crew of JDS Osumi during their mission stop in Nha Trang, Vietnam, prior to their arrival in Japan.
The stop in Yokosuka will see personnel working side-by-side with Japan Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF) medical professionals during subject matter exchanges, medical symposiums and humanitarian assistance/disaster relief (HADR) exercises. Mercy and her crew will then transit to Tokyo, where they will give tours for government officials, members of the media and local citizens. The crew will also host a medical seminar and demonstrate the medical capabilities of the ship. At the conclusion of the visit to Tokyo, Mercy will return to Yokosuka to conduct additional subject matter exchanges and tour Japanese ships, aircraft and facilities.
"My team and I are excited to show our Japanese friends what Mercy is capable of and continue the knowledge exchanges we've been conducting for the last three months of our mission," said Capt. David Bretz, PP18 mission commander. "We are honored to visit Japan and our crew looks forward to working alongside our Japanese partners and embracing the vibrant culture."
Mercy and Military Sealift Command expeditionary fast transport ship USNS Brunswick (T-EPF 6) conducted mission stops in Indonesia, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Yap, Palau and Thailand during PP18. These mission stops increased the reach and scope of PP18 participants and host nation counterparts to conduct technical expertise exchanges in medical, engineering, and HADR. Additionally, key leader and community engagement events allowed for direct engagement with local citizens and enhanced relationships with partner nation military and government leadership.
Pacific Partnership, now in its 13th iteration, is the largest annual multilateral HADR preparedness mission conducted in the Indo-Asia-Pacific. PP18's objective is to enhance regional coordination in areas such as medical readiness and preparedness for man-made and natural disasters.
Pacific Partnership 2018 consisted of more than 800 U.S. military personnel stationed worldwide, working side-by-side with host nation counterparts to be better prepared for potential humanitarian aid and disaster response situations.
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