US Navy Hospital Ship Embarks on Aid Mission to Pacific

A U.S. Navy hospital ship is heading across the Pacific on a humanitarian mission with stops planned in Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Malaysia and Vietnam. The USNS Mercy left its home port of San Diego, California, on Friday, along with the expeditionary fast transport ship USNS Fall River. The ships are carrying some 800 military and civilian personnel from the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, France, Peru and Japan. The Navy said the international team will partner with host nations to provide medical and dental exchanges, along with disaster-response training. Navy official Lt. Marycate Walsh told VOA on Friday that USNS Mercy's humanitarian mission in the Pacific, dubbed Pacific Partnership, is the largest annual disaster-response mission in the region. The first Pacific Partnership began in response to the December 2004 tsunami, which devastated several areas in South and Southeast Asia. After the mission concludes, the USNS Mercy is expected...


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