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Multilateral partnerships key to ongoing PACANGEL 17-3 success

Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Flt. Lt. Corey Wilson, right, a dental officer with the 2nd Expeditionary Health Services Wing at RAAF Base Williamtown, Australia, asks his patient to open her mouth as RAAF Leading Aircraft Woman Amanda Walters, left, the senior dental assistant with the Joint Health Command in Wagga Wagga, Australia, waits to hand him tools during Pacific Angel (PACANGEL) 17-3 at Tagitagi Sangam School and Kindergarten in Tavua, Fiji, July 17, 2017. The duo worked side-by-side with their Fijian and U.S. partners to ensure the local community receives dental care as part of the humanitarian assistance exercise PACANGEL 17-3, that has been conducted since 2007. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Benjamin W. Stratton)

Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Flt. Lt. Corey Wilson, right, a dental officer with the 2nd Expeditionary Health Services Wing at RAAF Base Williamtown, Australia, asks his patient to open her mouth as RAAF Leading Aircraft Woman Amanda Walters, left, the senior dental assistant with the Joint Health Command in Wagga Wagga, Australia, waits to hand him tools during Pacific Angel (PACANGEL) 17-3 at Tagitagi Sangam School and Kindergarten in Tavua, Fiji, July 17, 2017. The duo worked side-by-side with their Fijian and U.S. partners to ensure the local community receives dental care as part of the humanitarian assistance exercise PACANGEL 17-3, that has been conducted since 2007. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Benjamin W. Stratton)

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Michelle Zenawick, a certified dental technician with the 36th Medical Group at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, shows U.S. and Australian service members how to properly sterilize dental tools and equipment using pressure cookers during Pacific Angel 17-3 at Tagitagi Sangam School and Kindergarten in Tavua, Fiji, July 15, 2017. With limited facilities and no other way to sterilize their equipment, Zenawick and her team improvised, ensuring the humanitarian medical service could continue without a hitch. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Benjamin W. Stratton)

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Michelle Zenawick, a certified dental technician with the 36th Medical Group at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, shows U.S. and Australian service members how to properly sterilize dental tools and equipment using pressure cookers during Pacific Angel 17-3 at Tagitagi Sangam School and Kindergarten in Tavua, Fiji, July 15, 2017. With limited facilities and no other way to sterilize their equipment, Zenawick and her team improvised, ensuring the humanitarian medical service could continue without a hitch. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Benjamin W. Stratton)

Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Flying Officer Luke Laws, left, a pharmaceutical officer with the 3rd Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron at RAAF Base Richmond, Australia, explains to a patient how to administer her medicine during Pacific Angel 17-3 at Tagitagi Sangam School and Kindergarten in Tavua, Fiji, July 20, 2017. The Australians were joined by four other regional nations including Vanuatu, Indonesia, the Philippines and France, aside from the U.S. and Fiji combining to provide humanitarian assistance and civil military operations, promoting regional military-civilian-nongovernmental organization cooperation and interoperability. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Benjamin W. Stratton)

Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Flying Officer Luke Laws, left, a pharmaceutical officer with the 3rd Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron at RAAF Base Richmond, Australia, explains to a patient how to administer her medicine during Pacific Angel 17-3 at Tagitagi Sangam School and Kindergarten in Tavua, Fiji, July 20, 2017. The Australians were joined by four other regional nations including Vanuatu, Indonesia, the Philippines and France, aside from the U.S. and Fiji combining to provide humanitarian assistance and civil military operations, promoting regional military-civilian-nongovernmental organization cooperation and interoperability. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Benjamin W. Stratton)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Tanatchaya Somkanay Purath, left, a dental technician with the 679th Dental Squadron at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, assists her Fijian dentist as they asses a patient’s dental needs during Pacific Angel (PACANGEL) 17-3 at Tagitagi Sangam School and Kindergarten in Tavua, Fiji, July 17, 2017. PACANGEL 17-3 builds partnerships between the U.S., Fiji, and five regional nations including Australia, Vanuatu, Indonesia, the Philippines and France by conducting multilateral humanitarian assistance and civil military operations, promoting regional military-civilian-nongovernmental organization cooperation and interoperability. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Benjamin W. Stratton)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Tanatchaya Somkanay Purath, left, a dental technician with the 679th Dental Squadron at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, assists her Fijian dentist as they asses a patient’s dental needs during Pacific Angel (PACANGEL) 17-3 at Tagitagi Sangam School and Kindergarten in Tavua, Fiji, July 17, 2017. PACANGEL 17-3 builds partnerships between the U.S., Fiji, and five regional nations including Australia, Vanuatu, Indonesia, the Philippines and France by conducting multilateral humanitarian assistance and civil military operations, promoting regional military-civilian-nongovernmental organization cooperation and interoperability. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Benjamin W. Stratton)

LAUTOKA, Fiji -- Five nations from across the Indo-Asia-Pacific region joined U.S. service members and Republic of Fiji Military Forces for Pacific Angel 17-3 to conduct multilateral humanitarian assistance and civil military operations here, July 11-24.

Australia, Vanuatu, Indonesia, the Philippines and France offered their assistance to ensure a successful exercise, promoting regional military-civilian-nongovernmental organization cooperation and interoperability.

“I get to partner with a Fijian dentist while here and it’s really beneficial to see where he comes from and how he works,” said Royal Australian Air Force Leading Aircraft Woman Amanda Walters, the senior dental assistant with the Joint Health Command in Wagga Wagga, Australia. “The local people seem so happy and thankful for what we do which makes me very proud to be here.”

Walters came with other Australian dental professionals and a pharmacist and added she can’t imagine a more rewarding way to give back and help the Fijians improve their healthcare.

The partner nations participating in PACANGEL 17-3 worked through language barriers and tactical differences on all levels to conduct the various humanitarian assistance and civil military operation programs.

“This exercise goes so much deeper than what you see on the surface,” said Lt. Col. Catherine Grush, PACANGEL 17-3 mission commander. “The hard work of the other nations here with us has ensured things run smoothly, and I cannot thank them enough for their help. It is an honor to partner with Fiji, Australia, Indonesia, Vanuatu, the Philippines and France throughout this exercise.”

Grush added that this operation is meant to further interoperability and strengthen partnerships to prepare for disaster relief efforts that may be needed in the future.

“Being here with our partners has been nothing but win-win,” said Grush. “We not only get to help the local community, but we are also learning about each other’s cultures and procedures in order to integrate and execute the most effective mission possible--together.”

The exercise is set to conclude July 24.