Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Mercy left Naval Station San Diego to begin its part in Pacific Partnership 2012, a 4.5 month humanitarian and civic assistance mission to Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Cambodia.
Pacific Partnership 2012 will take medical, dental, veterinary, engineering and civic assistance projects to Southeast Asia and Oceania.
Japanese landing ship tank Oosumi, carrying a complete medical team, helicopters and representatives from Japanese volunteer organizations, will join Mercy during its stops in the Philippines and Vietnam.
For previous missions, surgeries were traditionally performed by U.S. and partner nation providers aboard Mercy. This year's mission provides opportunities to integrate host nation providers into performing surgeries, both on the ship and ashore, as a true exchange of expertise and practice.