Humanitarian assistance and disaster relief preparedness mission Pacific Partnership 2017 (PP17) arrived in Kuching, Malaysia, April 14, aboard expeditionary fast transport USNS Fall River (T-EPF 4) .
As the second and main mission stop in Malaysia, and the third mission stop overall, activities in Kuching have kicked off the large focus on humanitarian aid and disaster response, as well civil engineering projects for Pacific Partnership 2017 Malaysia.
According to Lt. j.g. Robin Pepper, the mission’s engineering sail-in echelon officer in charge, Kuching is going to be an exciting change of pace for the sail-in team after working only one-on-one with the host nation engineers at their last projects in Sri Lanka.
“Kuching is unique because we have the fly-in echelon from Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 3, the sail-in echelon Seabees from [Amphibious Construction Battalion 1], the Japanese engineers, and the Malaysian engineers all working together,” said Pepper.
In addition to the various engineering, medical and humanitarian aid disaster response events taking place in Kuching, Pacific Partnership personnel are also looking forward to exploring the island of Borneo and interacting with another side of Malaysian culture.
The mission platform, expeditionary fast transport USNS Fall River (T-EPF 4), also hosted about 40 cadets from the University of Malaysia (UniMas) Sarawak at Pending Port on April 15.
The group of 40 cadets was divided in two groups and were given a tour of the mission bay, flight deck, the briefing room and various other aspects of the ship.
“It was a great opportunity to meet the cadets,” said U.S. Navy Lt. David Kelts, mission supply officer, Pacific Partnership 2017, and tour guide. “They’re very young and energetic—it was a great opportunity to interact with them. They asked some really great questions.”
The Fall River is a 338-foot-long aluminum catamarans designed for rapid inter-theater troop transport and sea basing. The ship can transport about 600 tons of military troops, supplies and equipment for 1,200 nautical miles at an average speed of 35 knots on jet propulsion.
Now in its 12th year, Pacific Partnership continues as the largest annual multilateral humanitarian assistance and disaster relief preparedness mission conducted in the Indo-Asia-Pacific and aims to enhance regional coordination in areas such as medical readiness and preparedness for man-made-and natural disasters.