Pacific Partnership 2018 Planning Conference Concludes
​160930-N-OR184-024 SAN DIEGO (Sept. 30, 2016) Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) returns to its home port of San Diego after completing Pacific Partnership 2016. (U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Emiline L. M. Senn/Released)

SAN DIEGO, Calif. (NNS) -- Pacific partnership staff and partner nation representatives met onboard USNS Mercy (T-AH 19), Jan. 16-19, for the final planning conference leading to Pacific Partnership 2018.

The four-day conference provided a forum for discussion to ensure the host nations and mission staff is aligned in all efforts leading to the upcoming mission.

Pacific Partnership 2018 will be led by Commander, Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 31, embarked onboard hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH 19). The Spearhead-class expeditionary fast transport ship USNS Fall River (T-EPF 4) will join the mission shortly after Mercy departs San Diego.

"The exceptional commitment to excellence from our host and partner nations was evident this week," said Capt. David Bretz, commander DESRON 31. "The valuable exchange of information coupled with the dedication to work out each detail leading to the mission is what I call true partnership."

Throughout the week, senior delegates representing Australia, Canada, France, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Palau, Peru, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Yap took the opportunity to participate in a ship tour and talk with the crew.

Created in response to the 2004 tsunami that devastated parts of Southeast Asia, Pacific Partnership continues to maintain engagements with regional partners in the Pacific Theater to provide humanitarian assistance and readiness for disaster response.

The mission has evolved over the years from primarily a direct care mission to an operation focused on enhancing partnerships through host nation subject matter expert and civil-military exchanges. Pacific Partnership also capitalizes on multilateral cooperation and partnerships between government and non-government organizations to increase capabilities in humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HA/DR) and preparedness for natural and man-made disasters.

Pacific Partnership 2018 brings together civilian and military personnel from 14 partner nations to exchange knowledge and best practices during seven port visits, improving disaster response preparedness in the Indo-Asia Pacific region.

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