KUCHING: Almost 500 service members are taking part in the Pacific Partnership 2019 mission in Sarawak.
The Pacific Partnership is an annual deployment of forces from the Pacific Fleet of the United States Navy in cooperation with regional governments such as Australia, the Philippines, Japan, Thailand and Malaysia, and military forces, along with humanitarian and non-governmental organisations.
USNS Fall River, a Military Sealift Command expeditionary fast transport ship, arrived here early yesterday as part of the 15-day programme.
Her crew was welcomed by Malaysian Armed Forces (MAF) 1st Infantry Division chief of staff Col Nadzri Che Lah, Pacific Partnership 2019 director Col Dr Mohamed Zaki Mohamed Mokhtar and MAF Joint Forces Headquarters (JFHQ) Joint Exercise Division director Col Zulfakar Abdul Wahid.
With the concept of Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR), the activities during the mission include Medical/Dental Civic Action Programme, Engineering Civic Action Programme, Community Relation, HADR Table Top Exercise or Field Training Exercise and Subject Matter Expert’s Exchange.
Meanwhile, Pacific Partnership 2019 chief of staff Royal Australian Navy Capt Brendon Zilko represented the US Armed Forces on behalf of mission commander US Navy Capt Randy Van Rossum.
According to MAF JFHQ public affairs officer Capt Mohd Hafiz Mohamed Sabilan, the USNS Fall River carries around 200 personnel along with tools and equipment as well as medical supplies for the exercise.
The opening ceremony will take place on March 30 and will be graced by MAF Joint Forcescommander Lt-Gen Datuk Suhaimi Mohd Zuki.
The closing ceremony will take place on April 11 and will be graced by US Ambassador to Malaysia Kamala Shirin Lakhdir.