The Australian Defence Force (ADF) is helping to improve regional capacity to respond to natural and humanitarian emergencies.
On 22 May, ADF personnel departed Australia for their deployment as part of Pacific Partnership 2012. These personnel represent the Command and Medical Specialist contribution to the exercise.
Pacific Partnership 2012 is an annual US-sponsored humanitarian assistance exercise aimed at strengthening international relationships with partner and host nations in Asia and Oceania and to enhance interoperability of regional forces in their ability to respond to natural disasters and humanitarian emergencies.
This year, Pacific Partnership 2012 will deliver medical, dental, veterinary and engineering aid to Indonesia (North Sulawesi), Philippines (Samar), Vietnam (Vinh) and Cambodia (Sihanoukville).
Commander Ken Walters from the Royal Australian Navy will lead the Australian contingent.
“Pacific Partnership represents a great opportunity for Australian personnel to work closely with our regional allies and deliver some fantastic support to our neighbours, while also practicing for any future disasters. Working with partners including the United States, Canada, Chile, Japan, New Zealand and Thailand allows our personnel to enhance the capability to respond and to examine first hand how our partners operate,” Commander Walters said.
The exercise marks the seventh year of Australian participation. Throughout the exercise, 37 ADF personnel will be based onboard the American hospital ship USNS Mercy. Pacific Partnership has been held annually by the US Pacific Fleet since the tragic Boxing Day Tsunami in 2004.
“The 2004 Boxing Day Tsunami clearly demonstrates how quickly and unexpectedly natural disasters and humanitarian emergencies can arise, activities like this continue to improve the regional response capability for any future emergency,” Commander Walters said.