One of the US Navy’s Pacific Fleet will be sailing to six Pacific island nations to provide humanitarian aid. The USS Pearl Harbor, an amphibious dock landing ship, is scheduled to depart Hawaii on May 24th. The mission will be for four months. The first stop will be Samoa, followed by Tonga, Marshall Islands, Papua New Guinea, Kiribati, and the Solomon Islands. Joining the mission, will be medical personnel including doctors, dentists, and veterinarians, as well as experts in public health and disaster response. The mission will be under the leadership of US Navy Captain Wallace Lovely, commander of Destroyer Squadron 31.
Australian ship HMAS Tobruk and New Zealand ship HMNZS Canterbury will be joining the US on this mission. According to the US Navy, this will be the first time for participating nations to lead individual phases within the mission. Australians will lead in Papua New Guinea, and New Zealand in Kiribati and the Solomon Islands. Additional help in delivering aid will come from Canada, France, Japan, and Malaysia.
The US sent ships and planes to aid the victims of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami and earthquake. Approval ratings of the US in Indonesia jumped to 38% afterwards in 2005. In 2006, the US Navy sent the hospital ship USNS Mercy to the Philippines, Indonesia, and other countries in Asia. Since then, the practice has continued with positive results. USNS Mercy went on another mission in 2012 to the Philippines, Cambodia, Indonesia, and Vietnam. Medical services such as cataract surgery, dental fillings, and veterinary treatment of livestock were offered.
Missions cost around $20 million each. The results show that community and international relationships are strengthened by building trust, enhancing cooperation, and creating open dialogues between leaders. This is crucial for deterring conflict. Pacific Fleet Commander Admiral Cecil Haney summed up the missions by saying although the US Pacific Fleet is always prepared for battle, it must also “operate to preserve the peace.”
Written by: Cynthia Collins, Guardian Correspondent
Source: Google News