Pacific Partnership
Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) returns to San Diego Friday. U.S. Navy photo by Senior Chief Mass Communication Specialist Rosa Paschall

Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Mercy returned to its homeport of San Diego Friday following completion of the 17th annual Pacific Partnership mission.

Pacific Partnership is the largest annual multinational humanitarian assistance and disaster relief preparedness mission conducted throughout the Indo-Pacific region, according to a Navy statement.

“It has truly been an honor to lead a diverse crew of committed men and women on the Pacific Partnership 2022 team,” said Pacific Partnership 2022 Mission Commander Capt. Hank Kim. “We set out to strengthen ties and create new friendships with our host and partner nations, and we achieved this with resounding success.”

The team worked with participating host and partner nations to “enhance regional interchangeability and disaster response capabilities, increase security and stability in the region, and foster new and enduring friendships in the Indo-Pacific,” the Navy statement continues.

“One of the mission highlights was seeing the multinational knowledge exchange and passion for learning from everyone who was a part of Pacific Partnership,” said Capt. Jeffrey Feinberg, Mercy’s commanding officer. “Every participant brought something new to the table, whether it was a safer way to construct the foundation for a building, a new approach to a patient procedure or a more efficient means for disaster response.”

“That collaboration is what enhances every nation’s capacity to respond to crisis and provides an enduring impact,” he said. “That, and the friendships we make, are what will remain long after Mercy returns home.”

Host nations included Vietnam, Palau, the Philippines and Solomon Islands. Partner nations included Australia, Chile, Japan, the Republic of Korea and the United Kingdom.

The five-month mission saw more than 15,000 patients, completed 10 major construction projects, participated in more than 80 host nation outreach events and conducted humanitarian assistance and disaster relief workshops at each stop.

City News Service contributed to this article.