MAJURO, Marshall Islands -- Pacific Partnership 2013 arrived at its third mission port, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, July 3.
U.S., partner nation military members and non-governmental organization volunteers are scheduled to take part in a variety of projects while ashore in the Marshall Islands such as the installation of rain water catchment and filtration, health fairs, engineering projects, disaster response seminars and training with the goal of improving the Marshall Islands' overall disaster preparedness.
"As we've learned previously, no nation can successfully conduct operations in response to major disasters, such as earthquakes or tsunamis, by themselves," said Royal New Zealand Navy Acting Capt. Anthony Millar, Pacific Partnership 2013 deputy mission commander. "It is necessary for nations to be able to work together to achieve a timely response to emergencies. Pacific Partnership provides a great opportunity for nations to practice being able to coordinate and collaborate in host nations."
Dale Lai, a non-governmental organization volunteer with the University of California, San Diego Pre-Dental Society, said she's eager to get started.
"With each site that we go to it's an adventure. We have an idea of what we're going to be doing, what the people are like and what the culture is like, but when we're actually there, something always takes us by surprise." Said Lai. "We've been communicating really well with the professionals there, we're both really excited to work with each other. The dentists in Marshall Islands have been very receptive towards us so I'm just excited to see what it's like there, see what we can help them with and see what we can learn from them."
Millar also expressed his enthusiasm about the things to come in the Marshall Islands. "I'm very proud to be part of the Pacific Partnership mission and I know that the professionals that I'm working along side will do a superb job," said Millar.
Conducted annually since 2006, Pacific Partnership is the largest disaster response-preparedness mission in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region. The mission was born after U.S. military responded to the needs of people in Southeast Asia following the devastating tsunami in 2004.
Working at the invitation of each host nation, Pacific Partnership is joined by partner nations that include Australia, Canada, Colombia, France, Japan, Malaysia Singapore, South Korea and New Zealand to strengthen disaster response preparedness around the Indo-Asia-Pacific region. The Marshall Islands is one of many host nations for Pacific Partnership 2013. Others include Samoa, Tonga, Papua New Guinea, Kiribati, and the Solomon Islands.