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Pacific Partnership 2013 Celebrates Queen Elizabeth II's Birthday
By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Tim D. Godbee, Navy Public Affairs Support Element, West
PACIFIC OCEAN - Pacific Partnership 2013 non-governmental organization volunteers, U.S. and partner nation service members celebrated Queen Elizabeth II's 87th birthday aboard the amphibious dock landing ship USS Pearl Harbor (LSD 52), June 11.

Pacific Partnership 2013 service members from Australia, Canada and New Zealand held the celebration to share the importance of the queen in their culture with other Pacific Partnership personnel.

"The queen is not just the Queen of England but also the Queen Regent to Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the Solomon Islands, which ties into Pacific Partnership 2013," said Royal Australian Air Force Wing Commander Paul Howard.

The birthday celebration gave Pacific Partnership personnel who weren't familiar with the Commonwealth's royal family a chance to learn more about it's his history and tradition.

"It's great to get people from all the partner nations together and celebrate something as one," said U.S. Navy Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Daniel Wieber. "We learned about the queen's family history and importance to her country, then we toasted to her."

According to New Zealand Army Lance Cpl. Michael Dean the celebration is one of many cultural exchanges that has taken place since Pacific Partnership has began.

"For us it's an experience, the ability to get in amongst other countries that we don't often work with," said Dean. "To learn other ways of operating not only as an army but as tradesmen as well is great. It's pretty special to me that other cultures are taking an interest in mine."

Pacific Partnership is based on common goals that provide a huge benefit to the maritime security of participating nations, including the United States, by increasing regional stability leading to peace and prosperity.

Working at the invitation of each host nation, U.S. Navy forces are joined by non-governmental organizations and regional partners that include Australia, Canada, France, Japan, Malaysia and New Zealand to improve maritime security, and strengthen disaster response preparedness.

Pacific Partnership is currently in transit to its next mission port of Tonga.
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