– A team of eight personnel from the Royal Netherlands Armed Forces have boarded the Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) to help support Pacific Partnership 2012 (PP12), June 17.
The team will fill a variety of roles
helping to strengthen the partnerships and the medical capability
that PP12 provides in this year’s host nations of Indonesia,
Philippines, Vietnam, and Cambodia.
2nd Lt. Anne Van De Ven, from Arnhem, Netherlands, works as a scrub
nurse in the operating room aboard Mercy.
“It is wonderful being aboard,” said Van De Ven. “Everyone aboard is
very friendly and very interested in who I am, and where I come
from. I think this is a wonderful experience for all of us to work
together and exchange our collective knowledge and experiences.”
The medical team includes a surgeon, an anesthesiologist and his
assistant, two intensive care unit (ICU) doctors and two radiology
Van De Ven said she hopes the Netherlands team can bring a different
perspective to the mission.
“We are also looking forward to the chance to see and treat more
patients with a wider variety of needs than we would in the
Netherlands,” commented Van De Ven.
The medical team has been trained to work both fully independent
from outside assistance as well as to be able to integrate with the
medical teams from the rest of the host and partner nations.
Col. Michiel Bussink, the anesthesiologist with the medical team,
said that he hopes the team from the Netherlands can teach as much
to the PP12 crew as they hope to learn.
“Learning from one another and becoming more efficient at responding
to crises, if and when they should occur, is the primary goal of
this mission and of our team, noted Bussink. “I truly hope our
presence here helps to achieve that goal.”
Pacific Partnership is an annual U.S. Pacific Fleet humanitarian and
civic assistance mission now in its seventh year that brings
together U.S. military personnel, host and partner nations,
non-governmental organizations and international agencies to build
stronger relationships and develop disaster response capabilities
throughout the Asia-Pacific region.