Clockwork-like Logistics Key to Humanitarian Mission's Success
Story Number: NNS070908-15
Release Date: 9/8/2007 2:12:00 PM
By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Michael Perez, Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet Public Affairs
PEARL HARBOR (NNS) -- Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet's humanitarian mission "Pacific Partnership" will come to a close when USS Peleliu (LHA 5) and its diverse team return to Hawaii on Sept. 12 and on their way toward Peleliu's homeport of San Diego later this month.
Pacific Partnership 2007 brought together military and civilian health care providers, civil engineers, and many caring people who helped participating host nations in Southeast Asia and Oceania.
The team repaired schools, refurbished hospitals, provided medical and dental care, offered health care information, and donated supplies and equipment in the Philippines, Vietnam, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands and the Republic of the Marshall Islands.
Just like a giant clock situated on top of a colossal building, the Pacific Partnership helped many people, but its success was only possible thanks to a vast array of "gears" behind the scenes.
"I played a small role in the Pacific Partnership mission, but I would like to think of this ship as a big machine and everyone in it are the gears that make the machine run," said Storekeeper Seaman Daryl Dasilva, Shipping and Receiving Department. "Without the gears, the machine can't run."
While not every department was visible to visitors or clients, departments like supply were critical to the mission's success.
"We all work as one team on the ship," said Senior Chief Storekeeper Casimiro Masikip, Materiel Control and Hazmat division leading chief petty officer. "We are bringing in the needed supplies and food so the rest of the departments can perform."
Keeping the ship well-stocked ensured all on board could focus on their mission.
"Making patients, nongovernmental organization (NGO) volunteers, auxiliary engineering, medical forces and distinguished visitors feel comfortable on board helped them concentrate more on improving lives in the nations we visited than on the unfamiliar environment of the ship," said Lt. Cmdr. Frederick Dini, assistant supply officer of Peleliu. "It showed our guests the professionalism and humanity of our Sailors."
While the doctors aboard Peleliu are well trained to meet their mission, it's Sailors like Dasilva that made sure the right tools reached their hands.
"I would have to say that the highlight of my participation -- was making sure that medical received the supplies they need for the mission," said Dasilva.
U.S. Fleet & Industrial Supply Center (FISC) detachment Singapore played a key role in supporting the ship's supply department and meeting the mission's operational logistics needs, despite the challenge of providing support in remote areas.
"Not knowing the ability of the local economy (via contractors) to provide basic ship support items like breasting barges, CHT disposal, potable water, water taxis and the like made this truly expeditionary," said Cmdr. Tab Austin, officer-in-charge of U.S. Fleet & Industrial Supply Center detachment Singapore.
"We strive to get the USS Peleliu exactly what is requested, but must also manage expectations and come up with alternate solutions when or if the assets can not be obtained in such austere locations," said Austin.
Helping the United States and host nations provide humanitarian assistance were Australia, Canada, Japan, Korea, India, Malaysia, New Zealand and Singapore.
Pediatrician Lt. Cmdr. Ashok Bhandari, of the Indian Navy, was one of the health care providers who supported Pacific Partnership and who relied on U.S. Navy logistics support.
According to Bhandari, helping those in need of relief strengthened the partnership between the United States and host nations.
"We're in a global world now and we can't separate from each other. Ultimate happiness, to me, is in taking care of others, giving them compassion and love," he said. "This humanitarian mission is one aspect of that and the things we're doing for people gives happiness to us."
Timely logistics support led to the success of the Pacific Partnership mission and translated to satisfied customers in remote islands and villages.
"If we were not on this mission, they probably wouldn't get the services we provide," said Masikip. "To hear them speak their gratitude for what we do makes this mission more important to me."
Spoken and unspoken expressions of thanks were rewarding to the crew.
"I think we really made a difference," said Dasilva. "These people went from living in tent homes to living in stable concrete houses. The people of that town showed us their gratitude by making us meals during our lunch breaks, so I know we really touched them."
The four-month Pacific Partnership deployment continued the long tradition of U.S. Navy support of humanitarian-assistance operations throughout the world and reflects American compassion for the people of the Western Pacific region with whom Americans share common bonds.
Throughout the summer, individual Sailors and civilians of Pacific Partnership were featured frequently in media throughout Asia including TV, radio and newspapers.
Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet maintains a Web site of photos and news stories dedicated to the mission at www.cpf.navy.mil/news_images/Peleliu/index.html .
While not always be in the glare of publicity, Sailors and civilians who provided logistics support behind the scenes helped make the Pacific Partnership mission run like clockwork.
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