SAN DIEGO, Calif. (NNS) -- The Navy Environmental and Preventive Medicine Unit FIVE (NEPMU-5) hosted 15 Mexican Navy health service personnel in support of Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercise, June 26.
The Mexican Navy personnel are crew members from the ARM USUMACINTA-412, a Mexican Navy ship that arrived in San Diego June 25, as part of RIMPAC.
NEPMU-5 collaborated with the 15th Medical Expeditionary Unit (MEU) in organizing the event.
The visit showcased a wide variety of public health services, placing significant emphasis on humanitarian assistance and disaster response mission capabilities as well as sharing best practices on applying force health protection measures for exercise participants.
"The visit aboard the ARM USUMACINTA-412 fostered an open exchange of information and practices on Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief with our partners in the Mexican Navy. By collaborating with our partners, we build trust and strengthen future coalition-force cohesion," said Lt. Megan Hinton, 15th MEU medical planner.
The Mexican Navy personnel toured the comprehensive industrial hygiene laboratory, microbiology laboratory, and were introduced to the Forward Deployable Preventive Medicine Unit's capabilities as well as Global Health Engagement initiatives that the Navy has participated in.
"Engaging our foreign counterparts is critical to our overall mission to improve the health and safety of our war fighters, expand medical readiness, and build relationships across the globe. This visit highlights that effort and contributes to the significant impact of embracing diversity while enhancing interoperability by helping partner nations build health capacity, combat global health threats, and supporting humanitarian assistance and disaster relief initiatives," said Cmdr. Shelton Lyons, Officer in Charge NEPMU-5.
NEPMU-5 Fleet Support staff also had an opportunity to engage in a subject matter expert exchange onboard USUMACINTA. The team demonstrated use of portable water testing equipment primarily used for shipboard and field environment. Additionally, they were able to tour the ship spaces and interact with foreign counterparts on matters involving shipboard sanitation, which gave them insight on the Mexican Navy's force health protection capabilities.
"Having the opportunity to exchange public health response capabilities with the Mexican Navy, better prepares each service in case of an actual disaster," said Lt. William Gordon, Environmental Health Officer, NEPMU-5.
RIMPAC, world's largest international maritime warfare exercise, is held biennially during June and July of even-numbered years from Honolulu, Hawaii. It is hosted and administered by the United States Navy's Pacific Fleet, headquartered at Pearl Harbor, in conjunction with the Marine Corps, the Coast Guard, and Hawaii National Guard forces under the control of the Governor of Hawaii. The United States invites military forces from the Pacific Rim and beyond to participate. With this exercise, the United States Pacific Command seeks to enhance interoperability between Pacific Rim armed forces, ostensibly as a means of promoting stability in the region to the benefit of all participating nations. It is a unique training opportunity that helps participants foster and sustain the cooperative relationships that are critical to ensuring the safety of sea lanes and security on the world's oceans.
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