SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- Military Sealift Command hospital ship, USNS Mercy (T-AH 19), returns to San Diego Sept. 25 after completing Pacific Partnership, a four-month humanitarian/civic assistance (HCA) and theater security cooperation mission, conducted with countries from the Western Pacific and Southeast Asia.
Throughout the 2008 Pacific Partnership mission, Mercy served as an enabling platform for military and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) to coordinate and carry out HCA efforts in the Republic of the Philippines, Vietnam, the Federated States of Micronesia, Timor-Leste and Papua New Guinea. As part of the Maritime Strategy, the relationships built and sustained with multinational partners in the Asia-Pacific region through exercises and professional and military exchanges help in humanitarian efforts and preserve peace and stability in the region.
During this year's mission, more than 90,000 patients were treated by the medical teams in various locations throughout the Western Pacific, including more than 1,300 surgery patients and more than 14,000 dental patients, who received dental care and treatment.
Community outreach and improvement included 26 engineering projects ranging from the construction of a waste-water treatment facility in the Philippines to the construction of a community center in Papua New Guinea. Many NGOs participated throughout the Pacific Partnership 2008 mission, including the Aloha Medical Mission, Project Hope, Operation Smile, The University of California San Diego Pre-Dental Society, International Relief Teams and others already operating, and working solely within, the countries Mercy visited.
Medical and engineering professionals from the partner and host nations of Australia, Canada, Chile, India, Indonesia, Japan, New Zealand, Republic of Korea, Portugal, Singapore, Republic of the Philippines, Vietnam, Timor-Leste, Papua New Guinea and the Federated States of Micronesia served on the Pacific Partnership team.
Mercy's crew included personnel from public health/preventive medicine; U.S. Navy, U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force medicine; U.S. Public Health Service; the U.S. Navy's Military Sealift Command and the U.S. Navy Seabees.
Capt. W. A. Kearns III, from Destroyer Squadron 31, served as the Pacific Partnership mission commander. Capt. Robert T. Wiley, a civil service mariner with MSC was the ship's master, and the commanding officer of Mercy's Military Treatment Facility was Capt. James P. Rice.
For more news from U.S. 3rd Fleet, visit www.navy.mil/local/c3f.