KOROR, Palau (NNS) -- Pacific Partnership 2018, the largest annual multi-lateral humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HA/DR) preparedness mission, kicked off at the Ngarachamayong Cultural Center in Koror, Palau, April 4.
Over 134 military personnel aboard USNS Brunswick (T-EPF 6) from the U.S. Navy, Marine Corps, Army and Coast Guard; British Army and Royal Navy; Japanese Air, Ground and Maritime Self-Defense Force; and Royal Australian Navy will conduct medical, dental and veterinary services and engineering projects throughout the community while working side-by-side with local professionals on HA/DR readiness.
"Pacific Partnership has been a regular visitor to the Republic of Palau, this being the third time since the mission began, with other U.S. ships and teams also visiting over the years," said Capt. Peter Olive, deputy mission commander of Pacific Partnership 2018. "This reflects years of U.S. commitment to the well-being of Pacific countries."
The U.S. and Palau continue a strong relationship with approximately 500 Palauans currently serving in the U.S. armed forces. Three Palauans, U.S. Navy Chief Logisitics Specialist Techur Johanes and Religious Program Specialist 1st Class Glenda Techur, and U.S. Coast Guard Chief Electrician's Mate Truman Skang, will be participating in this year's Pacific Partnership mission.
The Pacific Partnership 2018 team is scheduled to conduct engineering projects at George B. Harris Elementary School, medical engagements and subject matter expert exchanges at numerous clinics, band performances throughout the island along with a wreath-laying ceremony to commemorate the Battle of Peleliu.
"The government of Palau is profoundly grateful to be part of the nations in Pacific Partnership 2018," said the Honorable Faustina Rehuher Marugg, Minister of State for Palau. "We are truly committed to this mission and will take full advantage of the sharing of skills and knowledge."
Pacific Partnership began as a humanitarian response to the 2004 tsunami that devastated parts of Southeast Asia. By building on the region's shared goal to strengthen national capacities and preparedness for disaster response, 22 partner nations around the globe in 18 host nations in the region have participated since 2006.
Since 2006, the Pacific Partnership mission has provided medical care to more than 300,000 patients and veterinary services to nearly 40,000 animals and competed nearly 200 engineering projects while building meaningful and close partnerships throughout the region.
"The United States is committed to the security and defense of the Republic of Palau, as we always have," said the Honorable Amy Hyatt, U.S. Ambassador to Palau. "We will remain a leader to the free and fair democratic forces of the world. We are not going away."
Brunswick is one of three expeditionary fast transport ships in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility to continue its mission of providing rapid intra-theater transport of troops and military equipment. Specially configured for humanitarian and disaster relief operations, Brunswick is currently capable of accommodating a robust multi-specialized team of medical, engineering and civic assistance personnel to support the Pacific Partnership mission.
The Palau mission stop comes after two weeks in Yap, Federated States of Micronesia with 51 medical engagements and subject matter exchanges, 6 engineering projects and 22 community relations and band performances along with subject matter exchanges on HA/DR readiness.
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