Photo courtesy of Western Command

The Pacific Partnership event hosted by Puerto Princesa City ended on Tuesday with around 7,000 medical operations conducted on board USNS Mercy (T-AH 19).

Captain Jeffrey Feinberg, Mercy Commanding Officer, said during the US Mercy media tour on Tuesday that the ship was mainly built for combat operations in which they accommodate and treat wounded or injured soldiers.

They also treated and conducted surgery on the military working dogs.

US Mercy is the largest floating hospital ship in the world. It is a 1,000 bed capacity hospital, including its four Intensive Care Units (ICU), 12 Operating Rooms (OR), CT Scan rooms, dental laboratories, blood bankers, and it is also capable of storing COVID-19 vaccines.

It can also accommodate two helicopters at a time for medical evacuation.

“This ship was purposely built for combat casualties [and wounded], that’s our primary mission, and the second one is what we are doing now, disaster and humanitarian assistance. But, our primary mission is to accommodate combat casualties,” Feinberg said.

“One of our freezers holds 194,000 of COVID-19 vaccines that we can distribute as needed,” he added.

The Pacific Partnership 2022 (PP22) mission team consists of military members from the United States (US) Navy, the Royal Navy of the United Kingdom, and the Australian Defence Force aboard the Military Sealift Command hospital ship.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff, Lieutenant General Bartolome Vicente Bacarro, who also attended the closing ceremony aboard the US Mercy Ship, also extended gratitude to the partner countries for conducting and extending humanitarian assistance through the Pacific Partnership mission.

“We also thank and commend the PP22 bilateral teams who provided the much needed response to a vehicular accident that transpired in Barangay San Rafael. Through the Pacific Partnership, we have seen how the PH-US bilateral capability on HADR has grown and developed,” Lieutenant General Bacarro said.

The Pacific Partnership started its mission on August 3 and ran it for 17 days. During that time, about 7,000 people in Puerto Princesa City got help from dentists, optometrists, radiologists, surgeons, and veterinarians.

Some of their activities also included tree planting, Brigada Eskwela, and Pacific Partnership Band Performances.

“This strengthens our ability to work together, especially in a situation of need, such as a natural disaster or any other situation requiring humanitarian assistance,” Rear Admiral Mark Melson, the Commander of the US Navy’s Task Force 73, said.

Vice Mayor Maria Nancy Socrates also extended gratitude for the services provided by the Pacific Partnership.

She earlier said that the mission not only strengthened the partnership with the US but also boosted the humanitarian and disaster preparedness of the city through a series of sessions and training with the partner nations.

“I would like to extend our gratitude on behalf of the people of Puerto Princesa City for the services you have rendered. Thank you for all the learning you have imparted to us and the wonderful experiences we have shared in different barangays, most of all, thank you for the friendship,” Socrates said.

Western Command commander Admiral Alberto Carlos, US Embassy in the Philippines Chargรฉ d’Affaires Heather Variava, and British Ambassador to the Philippines Laure Beaufils also attended the closing ceremony.


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is the chief of correspondents of Palawan News. She covers defense, politics, tourism, health, and sports stories. She loves to travel and explore different foods.