News: Navy reservist participates in humanitarian mission in South Pacific
ABOARD USS CLEVELAND – U.S. Navy reservist Lt. Cmdr. Robert Thoms, a resident from Tacoma, Wash., is serving as advanced echelon public affairs officer in support of Pacific Partnership 2011.
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.
“Pacific Partnership recognizes the inherent advantage the U.S. Navy has to get material support on station to assist our partners,” said Thoms. “A partnership was developed to enhance our collective ability to address humanitarian and disaster support with nations across the South Pacific.”
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.
“I am proud to be an integral part of sharing the importance of Pacific Partnership,” said Thoms. “Rarely in life do we get the opportunity to provide support, training and care that gives an immediate and lasting benefit.”
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.
“This mission is so vital to the success of our partners nations,” said Thoms. “I am profoundly grateful to be a part of the PP11 team. “We have worked side by side with our Australian, New Zealand and host nation partners to ensure best practices are created and that communities are healthier and more capable than before PP11 arrived.”
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