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Approximately 90 Pacific Partnership crew members, including representatives from Australia and the United Kingdom, and 70 Vietnamese participants worked together to tidy North Song Cau Beach and Vung Lam Beach.
The HNOEs allowed host and partner nations to collaborate while assisting in the maintenance,
cleanliness and sustainability of beaches in Vietnam.
“The Pacific Partnership 2022 team greatly benefited from this mutual exchange of friendship with the Vietnamese,” said Lt. Steven Szelmeczki, a U.S. Navy chaplain and Pacific Partnership 2022 HNOE planner, after the successful engagement. “Cleaning the beach is symbolic of the care we have for their native ecosystem which is heavily dependent on the fishing industry. May our pledge to cleaner beaches here today in North Song Cau foster local enjoyment of their sandy shores for many years to come.”
Pacific Partnership strives to foster goodwill and appreciation for the host nation’s beaches. Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Vianh Longaker, a native of Vietnam, was able to be part of the project.
“I feel extremely grateful to see all of the U.S. Navy and partner military members participate and help to clean the beaches in Vietnam, which is where I was born,” said Longaker. “It not only makes our beaches cleaner, but it also helps the locals have better recognition of the importance of keeping our ocean clean. There were many kids and teenagers that witnessed us during the host nation outreach event. I believe our participation will make a huge impression and will stay with them for a long time.”
Pacific Partnership is in its 17th year and is the largest annual multinational humanitarian assistance and disaster relief preparedness mission that is conducted in the Indo-Pacific region.
For more information about the Pacific Partnership mission and USNS Mercy, visit:
https://www.facebook.com/pacificpartnership or https://www.facebook.com/USNSMercy, or https://www.msc.usff.navy.mil/ships/mercy/.
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