Pacific Angel: U.S., Vietnam continue to build partnership

TAM KY, QUANG NAM PROVINCE, Vietnam -- U.S. service members and the Vietnam People's Army, along with several nongovernmental organizations and partner nations, combine their skills and resources to conduct humanitarian assistance as part of Pacific Angel (PACANGEL) 17-2 here, September 10 to 18.

Since 2007, PACANGEL engagements have impacted the lives of tens of thousands of people by providing health services ranging from dentistry, optometry, pediatrics and physical therapy to civil engineering programs, humanitarian aid and disaster relief and subject matter exchanges.

“It gets us used to working together,” said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Benjamin Doyle, PACANGEL 17-2 mission commander. “We're here providing basic medical services and sometimes this will be the first time any of these people have ever had these.”

The first of two temporary health services outreach sites started on the first day of the engagement at the Tam Thai Commune People's Committee Cultural/Community Center. While there participants provided individual clinics for care with family health, pediatrics, optometry, dental, physical therapy and pharmacy.

During the first two days, medical teams provided treatment for more than 1,300 patients, including men, women and children with an array of medical ailments such as tuberculosis, malaria, bacterial infections and gastrointestinal issues.

Airmen, Soldiers, Sailors and Marines worked together with nursing students from the College of Medicine, Quang Nam province, East Meets West Dental—a nongovernmental organization based in Danang; partner nations and Vietnamese interpreters to provide the best care possible, increasing interoperability while giving back to the community as friends, partners, and allies.

The healthcare options for most people in the area are quite limited, explained Dr. Luu Canh Toan, a general medicine doctor from Hanoi.

“But, the group [here] has worked well together so far to meet some of their needs,” Toan said. “In the future I hope we can bring more equipment and medicine to treat more people."

PACANGEL 17-2 continues through September 18th with multilateral international Indo-Asia-Pacific participants working together to assist the local community and improve capabilities amongst each other.