USNS MERCY, At Sea (NNS) -- Project Hope, will join Pacific Partnership 2012 (PP12) in the countries of Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam and Cambodia during the mission's four-and-a half month, regularly scheduled deployment.
Project Hope, a non-government organization that provides doctors and nurses for ship-based Humanitarian Civic Assistance, has participated in Pacific Partnership since its inaugural mission in 2006, when it was a training mission resulting from the 2004 earthquakes that caused the great Indian Ocean basin tsunami.
The program is designed to demonstrate America's compassion and goodwill by deploying American professional health care volunteers to assist host nation health needs.
Volunteers from Project Hope will be integrated into the various medical and public affairs departments aboard Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH 19), this host ship for PP12.
"This will be my first mission with Project Hope," said Kelly Scatton, a volunteer Intensive Care nurse for Project Hope. "So far everyone has been very supportive. They have really tried to teach me the terminology and integrate me into the department and make me one of the team."
At the peak of the mission, 38 doctors and nurses are expected to participate, with others joining for specific ports during the mission.
"I'm excited to participate," said Scatton. "I am curious to see what the availability of medicine is for these people, and what we can do to help. I also hope to be able to pass on some of my knowledge to local nurses to help establish a system for them."
The joint mission on board USNS Mercy includes service members from the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines as well as civilian mariners, non-government organization civilians and foreign military partner nation personnel.
"I think because this is a joint military and civilian mission, everyone has done there best to integrate everyone into a cohesive group as soon as possible," said Scatton. "I think everyone has embraced the fact that this isn't just a Navy mission, an Army mission or a military mission; but a mission for everyone to work together for the good of those we are helping."
Now in its seventh year, 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-government organizations and international agencies to build partnerships and a collective ability to respond to natural disasters.
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For more news from Pacific Partnership 2012, visit http://www.navy.mil/local/pacpart12/.