The navies of the US, Vietnam and other partner nations have successfully concluded the 11th multilateral, humanitarian and disaster response exercise, Pacific Partnership 2016 (PP16).
The exercise was intended to assess the interoperability of partner nations to improve their disaster response preparedness and strengthen relationships in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.
Task Force 73 commander rear admiral Don Gabrielson said: "The men and women of Pacific Partnership made significant advances to the mission through their collaboration with host nations and our civilian and military partners.
"Their hard work deepened partnerships and enhanced readiness in search-and-rescue and humanitarian and disaster response preparedness, preparing us to work together even more closely in the future."
Pacific Partnership 2016 was led by Commander, Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 23 aboard hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH 19).
The exercise witnessed participation from around 1,200 military and civilian personnel from Australia, Canada, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Republic of Korea, Singapore, the UK, and the US.
It involved a multinational command-and-control structure for disaster relief, with a deputy mission commander from the Royal Australian Navy and a mission chief of staff from the Royal New Zealand Air Force.
The US and Vietnam improved their military cooperation with the visit of Mercy to Vietnam during a live search-and-rescue exercise on the Han River in Da Nang, which also included Vietnam People's Navy ship Khanh Hoa (K-123) and crew members from Shimokita.
The exercise also saw the Women Peace and Security programme team hosting seminars and workshops, as well as discussions.
Planning of Pacific Partnership 2017 is currently underway, with a continued focus on disaster preparedness with partner nations in the Indo-Asia-Pacific.
Image: JS Shimokita sails beside hospital ship USNS Mercy during the exercise. Photo: courtesy of US Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Brittney Vella/Released.