Pacific Angel 15-2 concludes in East Timor with strengthened partnerships

U.S. Air Force Maj. Richard Trowbridge (right), family practice physician assigned to the 374th Medical Group at Yokota Air Base, Japan, extracts a cyst from a patient's arm with Falintil-Forças de Defesa de Timor-Leste 2nd Lt. Anabela de Cruz (left), during an Operation Pacific Angel 15-2 health services outreach clinic Sept. 7, 2015, in Baucau, Timor-Leste. Pacific Angel is a multilateral humanitarian assistance civil military operation, which improves military-to-military partnerships in the Pacific while also providing medical health outreach, civic engineering projects and subject matter exchanges among partner forces. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Alexander W. Riedel/Released)

U.S. Air Force Maj. Richard Trowbridge (right), family practice physician assigned to the 374th Medical Group at Yokota Air Base, Japan, extracts a cyst from a patient's arm with Falintil-Forças de Defesa de Timor-Leste 2nd Lt. Anabela de Cruz (left), during an Operation Pacific Angel 15-2 health services outreach clinic Sept. 7, 2015, in Baucau, Timor-Leste. Pacific Angel is a multilateral humanitarian assistance civil military operation, which improves military-to-military partnerships in the Pacific while also providing medical health outreach, civic engineering projects and subject matter exchanges among partner forces. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Alexander W. Riedel/Released)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Latrisha Skinner (left), 35th Aerospace Medicine Squadron optometry technician, offers a choice of sunglasses to a young patient following her optometry examination during an Operation Pacific Angel 15-2 health services outreach event Sept. 7, 2015, in Baucau, Timor-Leste. Pacific Angel is a multilateral humanitarian assistance civil military operation, which improves military-to-military partnerships in the Pacific while also providing medical health outreach, civic engineering projects and subject matter exchanges among partner forces. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Alexander W. Riedel/Released)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Latrisha Skinner (left), 35th Aerospace Medicine Squadron optometry technician, offers a choice of sunglasses to a young patient following her optometry examination during an Operation Pacific Angel 15-2 health services outreach event Sept. 7, 2015, in Baucau, Timor-Leste. Pacific Angel is a multilateral humanitarian assistance civil military operation, which improves military-to-military partnerships in the Pacific while also providing medical health outreach, civic engineering projects and subject matter exchanges among partner forces. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Alexander W. Riedel/Released)

U.S. Air Force Captains Jay Bateman, 736th Security Forces Squadron director of operations, right, and Christopher Baird,  621st Mobility Support Operations Squadron air mobility liaison, untangle airdrop rigging with the help of a Falintil Forças de Defesa de Timor-Leste soldier Sept. 8, 2015, in Baucau, Timor-Leste. The rigging material contained rice packages that were airdropped by a North Carolina Air National Guard C-130 Hercules during Operation Pacific Angel 15-2. Efforts undertaken during Pacific Angel help multilateral militaries in the Pacific improve and build relationships across a wide spectrum of civic operations, which bolsters each nation’s capacity to respond and support future humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Alexander W. Riedel/Released)

U.S. Air Force Captains Jay Bateman, 736th Security Forces Squadron director of operations, right, and Christopher Baird, 621st Mobility Support Operations Squadron air mobility liaison, untangle airdrop rigging with the help of a Falintil Forças de Defesa de Timor-Leste soldier Sept. 8, 2015, in Baucau, Timor-Leste. The rigging material contained rice packages that were airdropped by a North Carolina Air National Guard C-130 Hercules during Operation Pacific Angel 15-2. Efforts undertaken during Pacific Angel help multilateral militaries in the Pacific improve and build relationships across a wide spectrum of civic operations, which bolsters each nation’s capacity to respond and support future humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Alexander W. Riedel/Released)

A C-130 Hercules assigned to the North Carolina Air National Guard drops bundles of rice over Baucau Airport, Sept. 8, 2015, near Baucau, Timor-Leste. The rice was donated to a local orphanage as part of Operation Pacific Angel 15-2. Efforts undertaken during Pacific Angel help multilateral militaries in the Pacific improve and build relationships across a wide spectrum of civic operations, which bolsters each nation’s capacity to respond and support future humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Alexander W. Riedel/Released)

A C-130 Hercules assigned to the North Carolina Air National Guard drops bundles of rice over Baucau Airport, Sept. 8, 2015, near Baucau, Timor-Leste. The rice was donated to a local orphanage as part of Operation Pacific Angel 15-2. Efforts undertaken during Pacific Angel help multilateral militaries in the Pacific improve and build relationships across a wide spectrum of civic operations, which bolsters each nation’s capacity to respond and support future humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Alexander W. Riedel/Released)

U.S. Air Force Maj. Shannon Brodersen, 141st Medical Group family practice physician, and Falintil Forças de Defesa de Timor-Leste 2nd Lt. Anabela De Cruz examine a young boy's skin condition during a Pacific Angel 15-2 healh services outreach Sept. 9, 2015, in Baucau, Timor-Leste. Pacific Angel is a multilateral humanitarian assistance civil military operation, which improves military-to-military partnerships in the Pacific while also providing medical health outreach, civic engineering projects and subject matter exchanges among partner forces. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Alexander W. Riedel/Released)

U.S. Air Force Maj. Shannon Brodersen, 141st Medical Group family practice physician, and Falintil Forças de Defesa de Timor-Leste 2nd Lt. Anabela De Cruz examine a young boy's skin condition during a Pacific Angel 15-2 healh services outreach Sept. 9, 2015, in Baucau, Timor-Leste. Pacific Angel is a multilateral humanitarian assistance civil military operation, which improves military-to-military partnerships in the Pacific while also providing medical health outreach, civic engineering projects and subject matter exchanges among partner forces. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Alexander W. Riedel/Released)

U.S. Airmen and soldiers of the Falintil-Forças de Defesa de Timor-Leste discuss construction plans during Operation Pacific-Angel 15-2, Sept. 5, 2015 in Baucau, Timor-Leste. Pacific Angel is a multilateral humanitarian assistance civil military operation, which improves military-to-military partnerships in the Pacific while also providing medical health outreach, civic engineering projects and subject matter exchanges among partner forces. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff. Sgt. Alexander W. Riedel/Released)

U.S. Airmen and soldiers of the Falintil-Forças de Defesa de Timor-Leste discuss construction plans during Operation Pacific-Angel 15-2, Sept. 5, 2015 in Baucau, Timor-Leste. Pacific Angel is a multilateral humanitarian assistance civil military operation, which improves military-to-military partnerships in the Pacific while also providing medical health outreach, civic engineering projects and subject matter exchanges among partner forces. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff. Sgt. Alexander W. Riedel/Released)

Pacific Angel 15-2 general practice physicians and dentists take a look at a patient's oral sore during a health services outreach Sept. 11, 2015, in Baucau, Timor-Leste. Pacific Angel is a multilateral humanitarian assistance civil military operation, which improves military-to-military partnerships in the Pacific while also providing medical health outreach, civic engineering projects and subject matter exchanges among partner forces. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Alexander W. Riedel/Released)

Pacific Angel 15-2 general practice physicians and dentists take a look at a patient's oral sore during a health services outreach Sept. 11, 2015, in Baucau, Timor-Leste. Pacific Angel is a multilateral humanitarian assistance civil military operation, which improves military-to-military partnerships in the Pacific while also providing medical health outreach, civic engineering projects and subject matter exchanges among partner forces. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Alexander W. Riedel/Released)

Capt. Davis Staley (front), 673rd Medical Group optometrist, and Master Sgt. Robert Shaw (back), 141st Medical Group optometry technician, examine patients during a Pacific Angel health services outreach Sept. 11, 2015, in Baucau, Timor-Leste. Pacific Angel is a multilateral humanitarian assistance civil military operation, which improves military-to-military partnerships in the Pacific while also providing medical health outreach, civic engineering projects and subject matter exchanges among partner forces. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Alexander W. Riedel/Released)

Capt. Davis Staley (front), 673rd Medical Group optometrist, and Master Sgt. Robert Shaw (back), 141st Medical Group optometry technician, examine patients during a Pacific Angel health services outreach Sept. 11, 2015, in Baucau, Timor-Leste. Pacific Angel is a multilateral humanitarian assistance civil military operation, which improves military-to-military partnerships in the Pacific while also providing medical health outreach, civic engineering projects and subject matter exchanges among partner forces. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Alexander W. Riedel/Released)

BAUCAU, Timor-Leste --

More than 100 members from the U.S. Air Force and New Zealand army joined forces of the Falintil-Forças de Defesa de Timor-Leste (F-FDTL) to provide humanitarian assistance to the citizens of Baucau as part of Operation Pacific Angel in Timor-Leste, which officially ended with a closing ceremony here Sept. 14.

 

The Pacific Air Forces-led exercise consisted of three tiers -- subject matter expert exchanges, health services outreach and engineering projects.

 

“The purpose of Operation Pacific Angel is to offer the U.S. and New Zealand militaries to practice with Timor-Leste’s armed forces and civilian agencies so that when disaster strikes, we have already created the relationships and acquired the experience that will allow us to respond quickly and effectively together,” said Ambassador Karen Stanton, U.S. ambassador to the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste. “Together, you all carried out a remarkably successful set of activities … There is no better way to demonstrate the strength of the friendship between our three countries than collaboration on a project like this. Thank you (to all who contributed).”

 

With the help of civil and military interpreters, a three-nation team of medical experts worked for one week during a health services outreach that provided acute care services for 3,272 patients in optometry, dental, family medicine and physical therapy clinics as well as a pharmacy set up at a local gymnasium.

 

Subject matter expert exchanges at Dili and Baucau hospitals allowed for the repair of medical equipment and provided training of critical lifesaving skills to healthcare staff.

 

Additionally, electricians, structural craftsmen, carpenters and plumbers from the three nations worked together during the exercise to renovate a local public health university annex and rural health care outpost station.

 

Finally, a C-130 Hercules assigned to the North Carolina Air National Guard airdropped rice, which a PACANGEL team delivered and donated to a local orphanage.

 

PACANGEL operations regularly visit locations throughout the Pacific theater to support and build essential emergency support capacity in partner nations. Ali Carlin, charge d’affairs, representing the ambassador of New Zealand, praised the work that was accomplished through multilateral teamwork.

 

“(This exercise) helped our forces gain skills that are applicable to a wide range of humanitarian and relief situations,” Carlin said. “Working together like this is a win-win and improves technical skills of each individual and the ability to work as a team in a multi-national environment. But most important are the personal relations that are created. In a crisis, there is nothing better than knowing the person on the other end of the phone.”

 

Previous PACANGEL events were held in Cambodia, Indonesia, Vietnam, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Mongolia, Laos and Nepal. This is the second time a PACAF team visited and worked in Timor-Leste, noted Maj. Gen. Abel Barrientes, mobilization assistant to the PACAF vice commander.

 

“I applaud the leading role that Timor-Leste has taken in not only providing care and assistance to its own citizens, but in supporting those in need throughout the world,” Barrientes said. “The efforts of (Operation Pacific Angel) are a visible expression of the U.S. commitment to the Indo-Asia-Pacific region and demonstrate our continued resolve for international disaster and humanitarian relief efforts.

 

“Not only does Pacific Angel allow us to help people in need, but it also helps us to improve our interoperability, with our military and civilian medical and engineering professionals in Timor-Leste and the region,” Barrientes continued. “Through Pacific Angel, we’ve reinforced existing partnerships and will create new friendships aimed at creating a peaceful and prosperous Indo-Asia-Pacific region.”

 

In addition to the large-scale impact, Capt. David Santos, F-FDTL exercise lead, said the learning impact on service members at the individual level is paramount.

 

“I gained so much experience through this operation,” Santos said. “We have multiple nations here and we exchanged our knowledge and skills. This tremendously strengthens our relationships with the U.S. forces and East Timor. My team and I learned a lot about the security and coordination part of it all. We learned more about how to set up large-scale medical treatment and keep it running smoothly. My medics, engineers and security forces take a lot of experience from this.”

 

To Santos, reaching people in the rural areas surrounding Baucau allowed the local population to benefit from the exercise as well, Santos lauded.

 

“Working to help our own people is very rewarding,” Santos said. “As soldiers, my men and I serve the people and it’s good for them to see what the F-FDTL can do to help. The people of Baucau were very excited about receiving this treatment and for them it’s interesting to see how New Zealand, U.S. and Timorese forces work together to benefit Timor-Leste.”

 

Since 2007, PACANGEL missions have improved the lives of tens of thousands of people and helped local government and international aid agencies respond more quickly to emergencies. It enables them to assume control of recovery efforts in their wake by enabling them to more efficiently use equipment, training and connections they already have to provide medical and engineering assistance to local citizens in need.