(Via Ho’okele News)
MC2 Amanda R. Gray
RIMPAC Public Affairs
The U.S. Navy Surgeon General and Chief of the Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery, Vice Adm. Matthew Nathan, embarked the People’s Republic of China medical ship Peace Ark (T-AH 866) for a tour July 2 while it is in port for the Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) Exercise 2014 in Pearl Harbor. Nathan also visited the hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH 19).
Not only is this the People’s Republic of China’s first time participating in RIMPAC, this also marks the first year that the Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) is participating.
The Peace Ark was commissioned in 2008. The ship’s mission is to provide a more rapid humanitarian response to disasters around the world.
“This is very exciting for our Sailors, for our staff on the Mercy and for our Navy,” said Nathan. “I am hopeful that this is just the first of many opportunities we have to partner up and learn from each other. The sea can bring tremendous damage to a country and its people, but it can also bring amazing ships like the Peace Ark and the Mercy to people to help make a difference.”
This tour was the final portion of the International Military Medical Symposium, held July 1-2, which allowed members throughout the international military medical community to better enhance their knowledge and experience.
Rear Adm. Colin Chinn, command surgeon, U.S. Pacific Command, also emphasized the significance of the visit with the hospital ships.
“As a U.S. Pacific Command surgeon, one of my priorities is to develop health engagements with all of our world’s nations, and we are working very hard to develop engagements with the People’s Republic of China,” said Chinn.
“This year RIMPAC is significant. The fact that China is participating, the medical community is having a symposium and the fact that we have Peace Ark and Mercy together, actually meets one of my long-term goals,” he said.
“I am grateful that the crew of the Peace Ark took the time and the effort to bring this amazing ship with its amazing capabilities to RIMPAC,” said Nathan. “I think that this is a very wonderful learning opportunity for everyone, and I am truly grateful for the opportunity to see the Peace Ark firsthand.”
The Peace Ark crew showcased a variety of areas and systems to distinguished guests during their visit of the ship, touring surgical facilities, computerized tomography (CT) scan areas, the surgical surveillance system, the flight deck and the wardroom.
“I am encouraged by the beginnings of actually doing things together,” said Nathan. “The significance of this exercise is that in the past we have flown to each other’s countries and talked about doing things together, but here we are actually doing things here together, and that can be the start of a more robust relationship and an understanding of each other’s desires and capabilities.”
For more news from Rim of the Pacific, visit http://www.navy.mil/local/rimpac/