DARWIN, Australia (NNS) -- The Canadian contingent aboard amphibious transport dock ship USS Cleveland (LPD7), the flagship for Pacific Partnership 2011, departed the ship after completing their mission in Tonga, Vanuatu, and Papua New Guinea, June 13.
Pacific Partnership is an annual humanitarian aid initiative sponsored by the U.S. Pacific Fleet, aimed at improving interoperability between host and partner nations in preparation for humanitarian assistance/disaster response crises.
"Our role in Pacific Partnership was providing dental care for patients and exchanging ideas with the dental professionals of all the nations we visited," said Canadian Army Capt. Tiffany Kisway. "Integrating with the Americans, Australians, New Zealanders, and the French also helped provide a better standard of dental care than any of us could have provided alone."
The four members of the Canadian contingent provided dental care for citizens of the three of the five host nations during their two months serving as a part of the four-month humanitarian assistance initiative, in which they treated more than 2,000 dental patients.
"When you join as a dentist, doctor or a nurse you always want to do a mission like this where you can use your skills to help people in need," Kisway said.
"You could tell that the host countries really appreciated what we were doing," said Canadian Army Capt. Peter Walker. "When you see someone else appreciating your work, it really makes you feel proud."
The team also found the professional rewards of working with new colleagues to be invaluable.
"It was a unique experience to partner with other nations to learn from them and how you can improve your own dental unit," said Walker. "Working together with other nations to help those in need has been a very memorable experience for me."
The Canadian contingent will return to their units in Canada to continue their work in the Canadian Army while four new Canadian soldiers will carry on with the mission in Timor-Leste and the Federated States of Micronesia.
During the past five years, Pacific Partnership has provided medical, dental, educational, and preventive medicine services to more than 230,000 people and completed more than 150 engineering projects in 16 countries.
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For more news from Pacific Partnership, visit http://www.navy.mil/local/pacificpartnership/.