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Pacific Partnership 2008 Concludes Final Mission in Micronesia (FSM) - Renovates Schools, Treats More Than 17,000



USNS Mercy Visit to Chuuk

Navy Release Story Number: NNS080902-08
By Lt. Arwen Chisholm, Pacific Partnership 2008 Public Affairs

CHUUK, Federated States of Micronesia (NNS) (September 02, 2008) -- The villagers of Fefan Island gathered around their newly renovated elementary school on Sept. 1 to recognize the hard work of Pacific Partnership 2008.

The engineers from Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 133, of Gulfport, Miss.; Amphibious Construction Battalion 1, of San Diego; and Indian Engineers from the Indian Army Engineering Corps all took part in renovating the school and attended a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

The ceremony recognized the engineers who were part of Pacific Partnership, a humanitarian civic assistance mission to Southeast Asia, as well as the medical teams that conducted medical, dental and veterinary civic action programs on 12 different islands in the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM).

"I want to thank the men and women of USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) and the Seabee teams for your kindness and friendship to the people of Chuuk and to the entire nation, for that matter," said Emanuel Mori, president of FSM. "We are appreciative of your humanitarian mission. We are humble and we are indeed grateful."

The ceremony, conducted at Messa Elementary school, highlighted the friendships and partnerships that between the people of FSM and the United States.

"Working with the people of Fefan was the most enjoyable experience," said Steelworker 2nd Class Raquel Miranda. "They wanted to be involved, to be able to rebuild their school."

While the people of Fefan wanted to work and learn from the U.S. Navy Seabees and Indian engineers, they also wanted to share their culture.

"Every morning they brought us fresh fruits," said Miranda. "They wanted us to experience their culture."

The people of Fefan exemplified the impact that Pacific Partnership had on the people of FSM.

"I've said that this mission will be appreciated for a long, long time by hundreds and hundreds of Chuukese," said Wesley Simina, governor of Chuuk State. "At this time I say I was wrong, it will indeed be appreciated for a long time by thousands and thousands of Chuukese people."

Not only were schools and clinics renovated, but medical assistance was also provided through treatment given at medical and dental civic action programs sites and aboard Mercy.

Since Aug. 17, the crew of the Mercy has treated more than 17,000 residents of FSM. A 26-member advance team of medical personnel arrived in FSM ahead of Mercy to provide medical assistance to the states of Yap and Pohnpei. During their 14-day visit, more than 3,400 residents received treatment.

The Mercy arrived off the coast of Weno Island in Chuuk state on Aug. 22. During her 10-day visit, more than 14,000 citizens were treated and more than 200 surgeries were conducted aboard the Mercy.

Though the medical assistance and engineering projects were the goal of Pacific Partnership, the interaction between the Mercy crew and the people of Micronesia was at the heart of the mission.

"The bonds of friendship that's developed between the Americans, Indians, Canadians and the Chuukese will attest to the personalized part of this mission," said Simina. "It's probably one of the best measures of a successful mission."

Pacific Partnership is a humanitarian civic assistance mission considered to be at the core of the Maritime Strategy of the U.S. Navy.

"I think our Sailors and the docs and dentists and engineers that we employ in these partnership missions get certainly as much out of it and come away as immensely satisfied as do the nations that we serve," said Adm. Robert Willard, Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet.

The Federated Stated of Micronesia was the final stop on the four-month humanitarian mission to the Western Pacific.


hree Yapese children hold up a sign directing fellow residents to the Pacific Partnership 2008 medical civic action program

Yap, Federated States of Micronesia – Three Yapese children hold up a sign directing fellow residents to the Pacific Partnership 2008 medical civic action program (MEDCAP) held in Gargey Village in Yap, Federated States of Micronesia (FSM).
 Twenty-two year old U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Allison P. Stevens (right) assists U.S. Navy Lt. Cmdr. Ron Citro, DDS, (left) in conducting an oral examination of a Yapese boy

Yap, Federated States of Micronesia – Twenty-two year old U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Allison P. Stevens (right) assists U.S. Navy Lt. Cmdr. Ron Citro, DDS, (left) in conducting an oral examination of a Yapese boy during a Pacific Partnership 2008 medical civic action program (MEDCAP) held in Gargey Village in Yap, Federated States of Micronesia (FSM).
 Paul Thugunman picks out a pair of glasses


Yap, Federated States of Micronesia (August 2008)
- Fifty-two year old Paul Thugunman picks out a pair of glasses, during a Pacific Partnership 2008 medical civic action program (MEDCAP) at the Yap Sports Complex in Yap, Federated States of Micronesia (FSM). “This doctor explained to me that I was far-sighted. He helped me understand why I needed a pair of glasses and also told me when to use them,” said Thugunman. “So, receiving these services is good for us.” A 26-personnel advanced medical detachment was sent to conduct MEDCAPs and repair medical equipment in Yap on behalf of Pacific Partnership.

 Manny Mori, President of the FSM (3rd from left), U.S. Ambassador to the FSM, Miriam Hughes, Governor of Chuuk, Wesley Simina, and Chief Equipment Operator James Brock, walk together during a tour of an Engineering Civic Action Program on Chuuk.


Chuuk, Federated States of Micronesia, (Aug. 25th, 2008)
– H.E. Manny Mori, President of the FSM (3rd from left), U.S. Ambassador to the FSM, Miriam Hughes, Governor of Chuuk, Wesley Simina, and Chief Equipment Operator James Brock, walk together during a tour of an Engineering Civic Action Program on Chuuk.
 Sarasota, FL native Lt. Cmdr. Rich Kolanda, a dentist from the United States Public Health Service, performs a tooth extraction during a Medical and Dental Civic Action Program (MEDCAP) held on Uman, an island in Chuuk State, FSM.


Chuuk, Federated States of Micronesia (August 24, 2008)
– Sarasota, FL native Lt. Cmdr. Rich Kolanda, a dentist from the United States Public Health Service, performs a tooth extraction during a Medical and Dental Civic Action Program (MEDCAP) held on Uman, an island in Chuuk State, FSM.
 Sailors play basketball with residents of Weno island at a local field.

Chuuk, Federated States of Micronesia (August 23, 2008) – USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) Sailors play basketball with residents of Weno island at a local field. Pacific Partnership humanitarian and community outreach activities further our efforts together with our many partners in FSM to achieve prosperity and peace in Chuuk and throughout FSM.
 Hospital Corpsman 1st Class (SW) Aristotle Legaspi troubleshoots the circuit board of a dentist’s chair in the Pohnpei State Hospital

Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia – Hospital Corpsman 1st Class (SW) Aristotle Legaspi troubleshoots the circuit board of a dentist’s chair in the Pohnpei State Hospital. Legaspi is part of a two-man biomedical equipment repair team assigned to an advance medical team sent to Pohnpei on a week-long mission as part of Pacific Partnership 2008. While Legaspi worked at the Pohnpei State Hospital, the rest of the 26-personnel medical team conducted medical civic action programs at five sites throughout Pohnpei during their week-long tour there. The medical team then travelled to Yap after completing their mission in Pohnpei.

Indian Navy Surgeon Cmdr. Ranjeet Thergaonkar, MD, listens to the heart of a Pohnpeian patient during a medical civic action program

Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia – Indian Navy Surgeon Cmdr. Ranjeet Thergaonkar, MD, listens to the heart of a Pohnpeian patient during a medical civic action program (MEDCAP) held at Sapwalap Elementary School in Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia. Thergaonkar was in Pohnpei as part of a 26-personnel advanced medical team conducting MEDCAPs and biomedical equipment repairs in the states of Pohnpei and Yap in FSM to support Pacific Partnership 2008. Thergaonkar, from Nagpur, India, joined the crew of USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) in May.

Commodore William Kearns, Pacific Partnership Mission Commander, salutes

Chuuk, Federated States of Micronesia - At the Opening Ceremony for Pacific Partnership 2008, Commodore William Kearns, Pacific Partnership Mission Commander, salutes during the playing of the national anthem as Chuuk Governor Wesley Simina (partially hidden by flag) and Chaplain Gerald Gray look on. The opening ceremony in Micronesia marks the final phase of the Naval Hospital Ship USNS Mercy’s (T-AH 19) five-month humanitarian mission to Southeast Asia and Oceania.

Navy Mobile Construction Battalion’s Steel Worker 3rd Class Michael Featherston and Constructionman Steven Cline help build a roof for the reconstruction of Mwan Elementary School

Chuuk, Federated States of Micronesia (August 23, 2008) – Navy Mobile Construction Battalion’s Steel Worker 3rd Class Michael Featherston and Constructionman Steven Cline help build a roof for the reconstruction of Mwan Elementary School during a Pacific Partnership engineering civic action program. Pacific Partnership assists the government the Federated States of Micronesia in providing local communities with various medical, dental and engineering civic action programs providing focused humanitarian assistance.

U.S. Navy sailor assigned to the Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Mercy lowers the national ensign during evening colors, signaling the end of the Mercy's first day in the Federated States of Micronesia, Chuuk State, Aug. 22, 2008.

Chuuk, Federated States of Micronesia (August 22, 2008) - A U.S. Navy sailor assigned to the Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Mercy lowers the national ensign during evening colors, signaling the end of the Mercy's first day in the Federated States of Micronesia, Chuuk State, Aug. 22, 2008. Mercy performed humanitarian missions to build the relationship between Micronesia and the United States.
Excellency Emanuel Mori, President of the Federated States of Micronesia, speaks at the opening ceremony welcoming Pacific Partnership 2008 to the islands of FSM
Chuuk, Federated States of Micronesia (Aug. 22, 2008) – His Excellency Emanuel Mori, President of the Federated States of Micronesia, speaks at the opening ceremony welcoming Pacific Partnership 2008 to the islands of FSM. Pacific Partnership continues to improve bilateral relations between the U.S. and its host nations, demonstrating continued commitment to work together to address mutual issues and concerns.