Ceremony Officially Marks Opening of Pacific Partnership in Micronesia

Story Number: NNS080824-05Release Date: 8/24/2008 12:17:00 AM
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By Lt. Arwen Chisholm, Pacific Partnership Public Affairs

CHUUK STATE, Federated States of Micronesia (NNS) -- National and state government officials from the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) as well as crew members from USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) gathered on the pier on Weno Island Aug. 22 for the opening ceremony of Pacific Partnership.

This visit marks the first time the hospital ship has visited the Federated States of Micronesia.

"You are a part of history," said Mori. "Mercy is the largest vessel to drop anchor in Chuuk since the Pacific War."

Pacific Partnership is a humanitarian civic-assistance mission to Southeast Asia and Oceania to provide medical, dental and engineering assistance to the people of the region.

"Pacific Partnership is a five-month voyage of peace and good will," said U.S. Navy Capt. William A. Kearns, Pacific Partnership mission commander. "We are grateful for the close partnership with the government of FSM."

By collaborating with the Federated States of Micronesia and pacific partner nations, the United States is working toward strengthening relationships and ensuring regional stability in the Western Pacific.

"FSM takes great pride in our unique partnership [with the U.S] that has provided opportunities for FSM to participate and contribute to our common goal of regional peace and stability," said FSM President Emanuel Mori. "Our FSM young men and women are serving in the U.S. Armed Forces, side by side with U.S. counterparts, pursuing the same freedom of democracy together, as partners."

The nearly 1,000 professionals embarked in support of Pacific Partnership will work together with FSM to include medical and engineering professionals who are scheduled to assist the people of Chuuk, Yap and Pohnpei.

"Mercy's visit to FSM is a dramatic opportunity for the U.S. to reach out to the people of FSM," said U.S. Ambassador to the Federated States of Micronesia, Miriam Hughes. "The Mercy's visit highlights America's commitment to peace and stability throughout Asia Pacific."

The Pacific Partnership team will provide 13 medical civic action programs on 13 different islands and three engineering civic action programs on two islands throughout Chuuk state.

Prior to the Mercy's arrival, 26 medical personnel from the Mercy and 20 Seabees from Naval Construction Battalion 133, from Gulfport, Miss., joined Pacific Partnership Aug. 17 to kick-off Pacific Partnership in Pohnpei and Yap.

The visit highlights the commitment of the United States to work with nations in Oceania and to develop stronger and deeper ties with the people of the Pacific.

"The degree of understanding between us, no matter how small, will go a long way to bettering our relationship," said Wesley Simina, governor of Chuuk. "This visit connects people from Chuuk and the United States."

Pacific Partnership brings together host nations, partner nations, such as India and Canada, non-governmental organizations, such as Project Hope and the University of California Pre-Dental Society, to work toward a common goal.

"Pacific Partnership reminds everyone, everywhere around the globe, that we are dependent on other people," said Simina. "We will forever be grateful to be a part of this monumental occasion."

For more news from Pacific Partnership 2008, visit www.navy.mil/local/PP08/.

The Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) transits the Pacific Ocean.
080820-N-7498L-042 PACIFIC OCEAN (Aug. 20, 2008) The Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) transits the Pacific Ocean as it makes its way to its last mission site, the Federated States of Micronesia. Mercy will provide humanitarian civic assistance to the country as part of Pacific Partnership 2008. Pacific Partnership is a four-month humanitarian mission to Southeast Asia intended to build collaborative relationships by providing engineering, civic, medical and dental assistance to the region. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Mark Logico (Released)
August 20, 2008
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