The dock landing ship USS Pearl Harbor (LSD 52) arrived here, Aug. 16 after completing the annual Pacific Partnership (PP13) mission, which this year visited six nations in the Oceania region beginning in May.
Pacific Partnership is the largest disaster response preparedness mission in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region and has been conducted since 2006. PP13 mission ports included Samoa, Tonga, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Papua New Guinea, Kiribati, and the Solomon Islands. Civilian non-governmental organizations partnered with militaries from the U.S., Australia, Canada, Colombia, France, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, and South Korea.
PP13 marked the first time that partner nations – Australia and New Zealand — took the lead of individual phases, a significant commitment milestone for future missions. Australia led the Papua New Guinea mission phase from the Royal Australian Navy’s HMAS Tobruk. The Royal New Zealand Navy’s HMNZS Canterbury served as the command platform in the Solomon Islands after New Zealand led from USS Pearl Harbor in Kiribati.
“Sharing the lead responsibilities and logistical resourcing among partner nations kept this incredibly impacted mission sustainable in light of future fiscal challenges, said Capt. Wallace Lovely, Pacific Partnership mission commander. “I could not be more proud of the multilateral planning effort that has gone into this year’s mission; it has been a true team effort.”
Overall, Pacific Partnership held 85 disaster response events, 49 engineering civic action projects, treated 18,679 medical and dental patients, held 136 medical training engagements, evaluated 4,925 animals, hosted 208 subject matter expert exchanges and organized 102 community service events.
“Multilateral efforts like Pacific Partnership are critical because they deter conflict by building trust and enhancing cooperation, an approach that benefits all nations,” Fleet Commander Adm. Cecil Haney said. “Pearl Harbor and her outstanding crew of U.S. Sailors, and multinational civilians and military personnel have served as the centerpiece of an important mission to improve disaster relief response in Oceania. Named after a place that reminds people of a world war, it is fitting that Pearl Harbor and her crew spent the last few months advancing partnerships in a multilateral mission to enhance stability, security and peace.
“All participants have my gratitude for a job well done.”
USS Pearl Harbor was commissioned May 30, 1998 and is homeported in San Diego, Calif. The Harpers Ferry-class dock landing ship is named after Pearl Harbor, the site of the infamous Dec. 7, 1941 attack on Oahu by Imperial Japan, and is the only ship named after that historic event. The attack on Pearl Harbor was a global turning point as America entered World War II and partnered with allied forces to victory.
During USS Pearl Harbor’s visit, Sailors will enjoy many activities on Oahu, including tours of historic memorials in their namesake port.
Press Release, August 19, 2013; Image: Navy