News: Army Reservist Participates in Humanitarian Mission In South Pacific
By Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael Russell
USS CLEVELAND, At Sea – Army Reservist Jennifer Thomas, a resident of Osceola, Iowa is serving as an animal care specialist in support of Pacific Partnership 2011 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.
“I think Pacific Partnership is a great way to help developing countries,” said Thomas.
“As an animal care specialist, my team is able to provide care and share knowledge with the locals.
Cleveland completed its mission in Tonga and will continue in 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.
“We help reduce common illnesses by showing proper sanitary methods to care for livestock,” said Thomas. “I think this mission is very rewarding.”
Pacific Partnership developed as a mission following the tsunami in 2004 which devastated Indonesia and much of the South Pacific. Since 2006, Pacific Partnership has treated 150,000 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.