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    Hawaii Sailors join the Effort to Build Resilient Partners in Pacific Partnership 2016

    Hawaii Sailors join the Effort to Build Resilient Partners in Pacific Partnership 2016

    Photo By Petty Officer 2nd Class Johans Chavarro | 160518-N-IU636-1065 PEARL HARBOR (May 18, 2016) Sailors assigned to the hospital ship...... read more read more

    The hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) departed Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam May 20, after taking on supplies and additional mission members in support of Pacific Partnership 2016 (PP16).

    Pacific Partnership, in its 11th year, is the largest annual multilateral humanitarian assistance and disaster relief preparedness mission conducted in the region, and was born out of the military-led response to the tsunami that struck parts of Southeast Asia in December 2004. It is designed to improve disaster response preparedness while enhancing partnerships with participating nations in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.

    While in Hawaii, Mercy loaded supplies, as well as personnel, including 10 Sailors assigned to U.S. Pacific Fleet Band. According to Chief Musician Ian Charleton, Chief Petty Officer in Charge of the embarked musicians, the Pacific Fleet Band plays an integral part in bridging the gap between cultures and building lasting partnerships.

    “The Pacific Fleet Band has, since 2007, supported Pacific Partnership as a primary outreach tool, furthering the outreach efforts of Commander, Pacific Fleet,” said Charleton. “Through our music, we are able to transcend language and culture, reaching people in ways that no other asset in the Navy can.”

    Equipped with a myriad of musical expertise and equipment, the musicians are able to accommodate for various situations and environments.

    “These Sailors were chosen for the various configurations we can make out of this group,” said Charleton. “We have individuals who can play saxophones, trumpets, whatever you need, and out of this we can make a rock band with horns, a New Orleans-style brass band, and also a small acoustic trio that can be sent into a small intimate space. There is no place in the world that we can’t reach.”

    According to Capt. Tom Williams, commodore of DESRON 23 and Pacific Partnership mission commander, in addition to the medical, dental, veterinary services and the structures that are built within and alongside foreign nationals, Pacific Partnership has shifted to heavily focus on the exchange of ideas as well.

    “From this year to last year, we have tried to keep the focus more and more on that resilience to help prepare for disaster…. versus what’s called a humanitarian civics assistance mission,” said Williams. “But over the years, that’s where we’ve changed the focus, and that’s based on the opinion of the partners, that’s what they’re looking for. ‘If you bring this capability, let’s focus it.’”

    “Instead of going in and saying, ‘this is what we are going to do,’ we work with our partners to say, ‘what can we do for you?,” said Williams. “…It’s a collaborative side-by-side, and it’s a true information exchange, it’s not just ‘hey, we’re here to help,’ [but rather], ‘we’re here to work together.’”

    A collaboration that, Charleton says, can be potentially sparked through the playing of music.

    “And us [musicians] being able to reach the people, sometimes a lot of people at once, with a positive message, that goes a long way towards building those partnerships that are essential when things go wrong,” said Charleton.

    During PP16, direct care will be provided shoulder-to-shoulder with the host and partner nations, with the intent being to share knowledge and skills that will last well after the mission is over.

    This year's mission is led by Commodore, Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 23, embarked on Mercy, and along with more than 600 military and civilian personnel from the U.S., Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the United Kingdom, Malaysia, Singapore, Republic of Korea and Japan.

    “Through Pacific Partnership we foster persistent presence and enduring relationships with our allies and partners throughout the Indo-Asia-Pacific,” said Rear Adm. Charles Williams, Commander, Task Force 73, the executive agent for this year’s Pacific Partnership mission. “This dynamic mission is a great example of multilateral and civil-military cooperation and serves as a model of coordination among participating nations, government agencies, and non-government organizations.”

    Medical, dental, civil-engineering, and veterinary teams will partner with each host nation to conduct civic-action projects, community health exchanges, medical symposiums, and humanitarian and disaster relief (HA/DR) drills. Engagements between Pacific Partnership participants and host nations are intended to improve capacity, enhance regional partnerships, and increase multilateral cooperation for HA/DR preparedness.

    Indonesia, Timor Leste, Malaysia, the Republic of the Philippines, and Vietnam are slated to host Mercy during PP16 and participate in subject-matter expert and civil-military exchanges, emphasizing the importance of cooperation on a global scale in preparing for and responding to disasters.



    Date Taken: 05.18.2016
    Date Posted: 05.20.2016 17:53
    Story ID: 198602
    Location: PEARL HARBOR, HI, US 

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