The annual multilateral humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HA / DR) preparedness mission, Pacific Partnership 2018, has commenced in Thailand for the first time.

The exercise was initiated on-board the US Navy’s Spearhead-class expeditionary fast transport ship USNS Brunswick (T-EPF-6).

Pacific Partnership 2018 is being conducted in Pattaya and is set to involve the participation of more than 130 military personnel from the US, UK and Australia.

The exercise will see military personnel conduct medical, dental and veterinary subject matter expert exchanges at the Queen Sirikit Naval Hospital.

"Pacific Partnership 2018 is being conducted in Pattaya and is set to involve the participation of more than 130 military personnel from the US, UK and Australia."

Participants will work together with local professionals and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to improve their joint HA / DR readiness capabilities.

Pacific Partnership 2018 deputy mission commander British Royal Navy captain Peter Olive said: “We are here because, like our US colleagues, we are committed to increasing multilateral cooperation and partnership across the region.”

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The Pacific Partnership exercise was first carried out in 2006 and the 2018 edition represents the 13th iteration of the joint mission.

The exercise has seen the participation of 22 partner countries in 18 host nations worldwide since the inaugural event.

Royal Thai Armed Forces Directorate of Joint Operations major general Suthon Muanpithak said: ‘Pacific Partnership 2018 will enhance interoperability for quick response of unexpected disasters.

“This exercise will be long-lasting in our memories.”

The US Navy ship USNS Brunswick has visited Yap, Palau, Malaysia and Singapore as part of the Pacific Partnership 2018 mission in order to develop sustainable projects relating to a number of different topics, which are intended to facilitate critical infrastructure development across the region.

T-EPF-6’s crew has performed more than 100 medical engagements and subject matter expert exchanges to date, in addition to approximately 20 engineering projects.

USNS Brunswick has been primarily designed to carry out humanitarian and disaster relief operations.

The vessel is one of three expeditionary fast transport ships in the US 7th Fleet area of responsibility and is deployed to ensure the rapid intra-theatre transport of troops and military equipment.