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Military

Harpers Ferry Brings Assistance to Indonesia

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS080317-08
Release Date: 3/17/2008 3:12:00 PM

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (SW) Joshua J. Wahl, Fleet Public Affairs Center Det. Sasebo, Japan

PUSKESMAS JANGKAR, Republic of the Indonesia (NNS) -- Medical personnel embarked aboard the dock-landing ship USS Harpers Ferry (LSD 49) and members of the Indonesian armed forces successfully completed a medical and dental civil assistance project March 13, while participating in a humanitarian assistance and disaster response exercise in Indonesia.

Exercises and projects like these maintain the readiness the U.S. and Indonesian militaries have established together to respond to national and regional disasters, and promote regional stability.

U.S., Indonesian and nongovernmental health care teams worked side by side to provide medical examinations and pharmaceutical support to residents at a local health clinic in Puskesmas Jangkar.

The emphasis of the exercise was to strengthen the bonds between the militaries through friendship and training.

"Every time we participate in a medical exercise it is a good experience to learn and grow," said Chief Hospital Corpsman (FMF) William D. Nicely, chief petty officer in charge of Health Services Support, Combat Logistics Battalion 31. "This project not only fosters good will and relations between U.S. and Indonesia but we also learn from the doctors and people we meet."

Long lines of people formed outside the health clinic where an estimated 570 people were seen the first day and numbers reached 918 by the second day.

"I am really grateful for all the medical support brought from the American military," said Jahriya, a local elementary school teacher and dental participant. "I hope that every year the United States can come back to Indonesia."

Capt. Herliani, an Indonesian dental doctor, explains how the professional occupational exchanges shared during the exercise strengthened the interoperability between the U.S. and Indonesian forces.

"It has been a great experience working and learning the ways of the American doctors," said, Herliani. "I appreciate their help and the people who have come through today also are very happy and excited."

Day three brought the end of the combined military group medical/dental endeavors leaving the medical teams with a sense of accomplishment.

"Though we experienced some language barriers throughout the project, the smiles from the people overcame all," said Nicely.

Harpers Ferry is part of the Essex Expeditionary Strike Group, the Navy's only forward-deployed amphibious force, headquartered at White Beach Naval Facility in Okinawa, Japan with an operating detachment in Sasebo.

For more news from USS Harpers Ferry, visit www.navy.mil/local/lsd49/.



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