A Vietnam War veteran revisited Vietnam for the first time since the war with his daughter while working together on a very different kind of mission, Pacific Partnership 2012 (PP12).
Retired Army Capt.
John Zywicke served as the Executive Officer of the Medical Clearing
Company with 82nd Air Borne in Phu Loi, Vietnam and now volunteers
his time in the Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Mercy
(T-AH 19) pharmacy under his daughter, Lt. Cmdr. Emily Zywicke.
“It turns out that our pharmacy paths crossed by fact that Emily is
the Pharmacy Department Head on board the USNS Mercy, and I was the
Pharmacy Officer for the Medical Command while stationed in Long
Binh, Vietnam,” said John. “After 44 years in the pharmacy
profession and my two years in the U.S. Army, it is very humbling to
work with my daughter and give back to people less fortunate than
Emily said it is interesting to do many of the same duties her
father performed 43 years ago.
“His duties included inventory management, performing clinic
pharmaceutical inspections within Vietnam, pharmaceutical, medical
and surgical equipment procurement and reviewing medication requests
from Australian, Thailand, and Korean medical forces,” she said. “43
years later, I am performing the same duties under a different
platform, but in the same country.”
John and Emily have shared a number of firsts while on this
deployment, including being the first father-daughter team on the
“This is the first time we have practiced our profession together,”
Emily said. “As a pharmacy intern, I occasionally trained under my
dad and gained an appreciation for the profession and art of
pharmacy, as well as how to be a leader. Most notably, the roles
have been reversed on this voyage, as my dad is now working under my
Emily feels fortunate to be able to share such a unique experience
with her father.
“My dad has always been my voice of reason, my motivator and my
biggest cheerleader from afar, but is now ‘present and accounted
for’ in my department, encouraging me on to be the best Naval
Officer I can be,” said Emily.
John said he is grateful for being invited on PP12, not only to
revisit Vietnam, but to share his knowledge and experience as a
pharmacist with his daughter, first hand.
“In summary, our degrees are 37 years apart, but we are one in
family and in mission,” he said. “We have been able to problem
solve, and build the USNS Mercy Pharmacy team together. I am happy
and grateful for the chance UCSD gave me to participate in the
MEDCAP missions, the chance to work with host nation pharmacy staff
and along-side participating nations, which led to a successful
Now in its seventh year, Pacific Partnership is an annual U.S.
Pacific Fleet humanitarian and civic assistance mission U.S.
military, host and partner nations, non-governmental organizations
and international organizations designed to build stronger
relationships and disaster response capabilities in the Asia-Pacific