YOGYAKARTA, Indonesia -- Staff. Sgt. Endro Accettola, an electrical systems journeyman from Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, left his hometown of Balikpapan, Indonesia, in 2002 at the age of 14. His first time back to Indonesia was with the U.S. Air Force on a humanitarian operation called Pacific Angel. PACANGEL is a joint and combined humanitarian assistance mission held in various countries several times a year and includes medical, dental, optometry, engineering programs and various subject-matter expert exchanges. "I really didn't expect to come back here as part of an Air Force operation," said Accettola. "When I first joined the Air Force my dad told me I might get to come back through the Air Force. I always told him I didn't think that would happen."
During Pacific Angel, Accettola is the site lead for a clinic that U.S. and Indonesian service members are renovating. "I feel like I'm giving back to my home country by helping out. It makes me want to come here more often; after being in the U.S. for ten years, I'm starting to lose my culture and my native language. I understand what my Indonesian counterparts are saying, but my language skills have become quite limited so it's a little hard to talk to them as well as I would like."
Accettola said working side-by-side with members of the Indonesian military is a great experience. "The members of the Indonesian Armed Forces that I am working with are really good guys," he said. "They are hard workers and never complain. They are very comfortable with the materials and they have so much experience and knowledge." Accettola said Pacific Angel is a great operation to show the world that the U.S. military is here to lend a helping hand and hopes operations like this will continue to happen to further improve relations in the Pacific region. "Once we leave here these locals are going to remember that the U.S. military came here and helped them," said Accettola. "The job might not be huge, but it's enough to impact a community and they're going to see this and remember this for a long time." Operation Pacific Angel missions were previously conducted in Indonesia in 2009 and 2011. The first Pacific Angel of this year was conducted in the Philippines in March, and others are scheduled for Vietnam, Sri Lanka and Cambodia.