While most of the defense community’s attention is firmly fixed on McChrystal-gate, my focus is on the softer and often overlooked side of US Navy operations. Pacific Partnership 2010 is the fifth in an annual series of humanitarian and civic assistance operations projecting US soft power in the Pacific Rim. This year, USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) is visiting six nations, including Vietnam, Cambodia, Indonesia, and Timor-Leste. To give these servicemen the credit they deserve, below is a series of photos from Pacific Partnership 2010. Enjoy.

usnsmercy.jpg

Caption: The daughters of Cantorna, chief hospital corpsman, wave good-bye to their father aboard the Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Mercy at Naval Base San Diego. Mercy’s mission is designed to enhance relationships through medical, dental and engineering outreach projects along with host and partner nations. Photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Mark August

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Caption: Maj. Brian Glodt, a doctor embarked aboard the Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Mercy, treats a Cambodian child during a Pacific Partnership 2010 medical civic action event at Sihanoukville Hospital, Cambodia. Photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Eddie Harrison

jumping.jpg

Caption: A Cambodian child plays jump rope with a Sailor from the Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Mercy during a Pacific Partnership 2010 community service event at the Goodwill School. Photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Jonathan Husman

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Caption: Lt. Brad Clove, embarked aboard the Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Mercy, during a Pacific Partnership 2010 community service event at the Goodwill School. Photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Jonathan Husman

jazz.jpg

Caption: U.S. Pacific Fleet Band members play and dance with Vietnamese children during a concert at the Nha Van Hoa Lao Dong cultural center in Quy Nhon, Vietnam, supporting Pacific Partnership 2010. Photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Joshua Martin

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Caption: Royal Australian Navy Lt. Elizabeth Livingstone and Singapore army Maj. Paul Zhao, both doctors embarked aboard the Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Mercy, perform cataract surgery on a Vietnamese patient aboard Mercy during a Pacific Partnership 2010 visit to Quy Nhon, Vietnam. Photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Eddie Harrison

bubbles.jpg

Caption: Petty Officer 2nd Class Jennifer Hunt, hospital corpsman, embarked aboard the Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Mercy, blows bubbles with children during a Pacific Partnership 2010 community service project at Starfish Primary School in Sihanoukville, Cambodia. Photo by Petty Officer 3rd Joshua Martin

fingerpainting.jpg

Caption: Cmdr. Charlotte Yuen, a Navy doctor embarked aboard the Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Mercy, paints with with children during a Pacific Partnership 2010 community service project at Starfish Primary School in Sihanoukville, Cambodia. Photo by Petty Officer 3rd Joshua Martin

orangerope.jpg

Caption: A Cambodian child plays jump rope with Petty Officer 1st Class Yissel Castanon, embarked aboard the Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Mercy, during a Pacific Partnership 2010 community service event at the Goodwill School. Photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Jonathan Husman

school.jpg

Caption: Cambodian children play games with Sailors and non-governmental organization volunteers embarked aboard the Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Mercy during a Pacific Partnership 2010 community service event at the Enfants du Cambodge orphanage. Photo by Seaman Jon Husman

baby.jpg

Caption: Adm. Robert F. Willard, commander of U.S. Pacific Command, holds a Vietnamese child during his visit to the pediatric ward aboard the Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Mercy. Photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Eddie Harrison




Posted by Christopher Albon in Navy, Soft Power
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  • http://snafu-solomon.blogspot.com/ Solomon

    Not trying to start a “flame war” but I’m curious how the Navy justifies this type of mission when you have troops under fire on the other side of the world.

    Mission creep is a terrible thing and I wonder if its wise to drain resources by engaging in activity best done by other agencies…like NGO’s and the State Dept.

    Lastly has anyone considered what a juicy target this ship would be to terrorist? Do they have onboard security while performing this mission? Are the ships personnel up to speed on force protection or are they focused solely on the aid/partnership duty.

  • Benjamin Walthrop

    This appears to be one aspect of what “preventing wars [or conflict]” outlined in CS-21 looks like.

    Strangely enough, there are missions in Iraq and Afghanistan that look very similar to this and probably carry much higher risks to the service members executing them than those faced in the Pacific Partnership EXERCISE.

    Since another land war in Asia (or the islands of the south Pacific) would probably be a fairly expensive endeavor, and the training benefits that are associated with deploying a hospital ship that may one day be used to save lives during a hot conflict are probably a relatively small sunk cost anyway, this seems like a good dual use of that capability and those resources to me.

    I’m not sure that there are any NGOs that truly can replicate the capability and outreach represented by the USNS Mercy, and I know that the DoS doesn’t have this capability. If there are NGOs that do this (without tying it to some other mission such as proselytizing), I’d be interested in seeing a side by side comparison.

    On a slightly different note, I initially found myself in the detractor camp of the NWU debate, but after seeing these photos and the photos from the Haiti response I’ve come to believe that the NWU is a readily recognizable USN “brand” (for lack of a better word) that while, albeit not very tactical in the jungle, looks pretty sharp and is quickly becoming an easily recognized symbol for the USN.

    V/R,

  • http://warandhealth.com/ Christopher Albon

    Hi Solomon,

    Briefly, the true benefit from these operations is the mil to mil and gov to gov relationships developed during this complex, multiagency, and multinational exercise. However, 11 photos of joint power-point briefings with Vietnamese military officials doesn’t really make for a great visual.

    Off to bed.

  • UltimaRatioReg

    “However, 11 photos of joint power-point briefings with Vietnamese military officials doesn’t really make for a great visual.”

    C’mon Chris! Where’s your “presentation warrior” spirit?

    (Not many comments make me laugh aloud. Yours did.)

  • http:www.turtleairships.com/hospital_airships.htm campbell

    Simply, BZ

  • Fouled Anchor

    Chris, thanks for posting. Excellent work by the crew of MERCY, the embarked NGOs and GOs, and the other deployed ships.

  • http://www.coatneyhistory.com Lou Coatney

    A beautiful thing for us to do, which may also help heal hurt and hatred in Indochina.

  • http://warandhealth.com/ Christopher Albon

    The military has it lucky. The last political science conference I was at still used overhead transparencies. It is hard to dramatically reveal your study’s results when you are fumbling with sheets of plastic.

    Cheers URR

  • UltimaRatioReg

    Oh, Chris,

    There was a time when a whole semester would be taught on an overhead projector with transparencies!

    In September, when it was hot, the teacher sweated on the sheets and blurred the words.

    I had another who spit when he talked, and also obscured the writing.

    I remember thinking then, in the late 1970s, that if we didn’t develop decent presentation software, we would lose the Cold War to the Rooskies and we would all be speaking Commie!

    Thank God for Power Point.

  • http://warandhealth.com/ Christopher Albon

    I want to know where the award is for courageous restraint of Powerpoint special effects…

    Some presentations have so many special effects I think they are trying to get a job at Industrial Light and Magic.

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