News: Brother of Abilene Resident Participates in Humanitarian Mission In South Pacific
Story by Jerad Alexander
By Petty Officer 1st Class Phillip Dale James Jr.
ABOARD USS CLEVELAND, AT SEA – Navy Cmdr. Fermin Espinoza, Jr., the brother of Hilda Rivera, a resident of Abilene, Texas, is currently working in Vanuatu as the Chief of Staff of Destroyer Squadron 23, aboard amphibious transport dock ship USS Cleveland.
Cleveland is the lead vessel for Pacific Partnership 2011. Pacific Partnership is the Pacific Fleet’s annual mission to Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands to engage in partnerships with host nations by improving dialogue, effecting a lasting, positive change, and employing subject matter expert exchanges in order to improve the capabilities and interoperability of the U.S. and partner nations when dealing with natural and man-made disasters.
“Having an opportunity to engage in a mission that directly reflects three of the tenets of the Maritime Strategy is an exciting experience,” said Espinoza. “It is an incredible development for the Navy to have an equal amount of importance placed on missions designed to help improve people’s quality of life and build lasting improvements with the countries in the South Pacific.”
Cleveland will visit the Kingdom of Tonga, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea, Timor-Leste, and the Federated States of Micronesia, and the military group will be accompanied by non-government organizations like Project HOPE, Vets Without Borders, and the University of California, San Diego Pre-Dental Society.
“I feel that this mission is rewarding on multiple fronts,” said Espinoza. “Personally, I have the opportunity to see a part of the world that isn’t usually on a Western Pacific cruise and get an introduction to amazing and exotic cultures. Professionally, this mission allows me to work with a completely different set of people. It isn’t just a joint military environment. This is a multi-service, multi-national, military, government and NGO mission.”
Pacific Partnership developed as a mission following the tsunami in 2004 which devastated Indonesia and much of the South Pacific. Since then, Pacific Partnership has treated 210,000 patients in 15 countries, and is supported by all U.S. uniformed services and partner nations that include Australia, Japan, and New Zealand. Other nations providing teams include Canada, Spain, Malaysia, and France.
This work, Brother of Abilene Resident Participates in Humanitarian Mission In South Pacific, by Jerad Alexander, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.