Members of Pacific Partnership 2013 joined distinguished members of the Marshallese government and U.S. Ambassador Thomas H. Armbruster for a closing ceremony on the island of Majuro to mark the end the Republic of the Marshall Islands mission, July 13.
The Marshall Islands are the third mission port of Pacific Partnership 2013, the largest disaster-response preparedness mission in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.
Throughout the ten days spent on the Islands, military and civilian personnel from ten different nations joined together to conduct mission projects such as medical and dental engagements, veterinary clinics, engineering projects and community relations events.
“The intense efforts and delivery of goods and skills ashore were remarkable,” said U.S. Navy Capt. Wallace Lovely, the Pacific Partnership mission commander. “The Marshall Island phase of Pacific Partnership 2013 has been a resounding success.”
Dennis Momotaro, Marshall Islands’ Minister of Foreign Finance and Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs, expressed his gratitude to those involved in the mission.
“I applaud everyone who had a hand in this mission from the preparation to the carrying-out of the projects,” said Momotaro. “The Republic of the Marshall Islands values this partnership.”
Although the mission conducts similar projects in each host nation, memorable moments prove to be unique for mission personnel.
According to Magdalena Gajdzinska, a veterinarian from Poland, her most memorable day in the Marshall Islands came when an aspiring young veterinarian of about 12 years of age stopped by the spay and neuter clinic to get involved.
“She was the best vet on the team!” said Gajdzinska “She was helping with everything.”
Pacific partnership personnel have been working to improve the sustainability of the countries they visit through subject matter expert exchanges with locals.
At the mission’s dental clinics, U.S. Air Force Capt. Kevin Kunz said that the local dental staff maintained leadership in the clinic, but were appreciative and very kind towards him and his staff.
“We were able to help them in ways they wanted to be helped,” said Kunz.
“Operation Pacific Partnership 2013—a multi-nation, humanitarian aid project—is going well, says the Deputy Mission Commander, CAPT Tony Millar, Royal New Zealand Navy (RNZN).
“Pacific Partnership 13 is a four-month operation spanning six Pacific nations. It is a large-scale regional operation designed to provide real-world help to local people, whilst simultaneously building relationships and cooperation between regional partners in order to be ready deal with a natural disaster or other emergency.”
PP13 is now in its eighth year and continues to evolve. Previously, all missions have been US-led. However this year a variety of nations lead individual phases. Australia has successfully completed the Papua New Guinea phase and the US led the way in three PP13 mission ports: Samoa, Tonga, and the Marshall Islands. New Zealand leads in Kiribati and Solomon Islands.
Amphibious dock landing ship USS PEARL HARBOR is the primary platform for PP13 with the Mission Commander, Commodore Wallace Lovely, USN and his PP13 team embarked. In August, CDRE Lovely will move his flag to HMNZS CANTERBURY and command from NZ ‘soil’ for two weeks.
HMNZS WELLINGTON and HMNZS MANAWANUI have also been taking part in aspects of PP13.
Pacific Partnership is a collaborative effort of military members and civilians from ten partner nations including Australia, Canada, Colombia, France, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, New Zealand and the United States that improves maritime security through disaster preparedness.
Press Release, July 15, 2013