Multinational humanitarian event brings aid to rural Vietnam communities

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Javier Alvarez
  • Pacific Air Forces Public Affairs

Pacific Angel (PAC ANGEL) 18-2, an annual U.S. Indo-Pacific Command directed humanitarian assistance and disaster relief engagement, the last of four iterations in the Quang Nam province, Vietnam, is going strong and is scheduled to conclude Sept.16, 2018.


Service members from the U.S., Vietnam, Australia, Singapore, Laos and Cambodia are working alongside non-governmental agencies to conduct medical service engagements and reconstruction efforts to bolster the welfare of rural communities in Vietnam and build partnership capacities with regional partners and allies.


“As part of this engagement, we’re committed to supporting Vietnam’s efforts to bring humanitarian assistance to their people,” said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Vinh Trinh, 13th Expeditionary Air Squadron PAC ANGEL 18-2 mission commander. “The U.S., at the invitation of the Government of Vietnam, will provide support by conducting medical, dental, optometry and engineering programs.”


More than 600 people are expected to pass through the healthcare site daily, where medical experts put their skills to work.


Huan Thi Nguyen, a patient, heard about the health service outreach event from a family friend and decided to make the hour and half trip with five friends to PAC ANGEL site. She hopes to meet with an optometrist to discuss her declining vision.


“It helps to have events like this,” said Nguyen. “This is a very practical event because it helps the community, especially those who don’t have access to such services.”


Civil engineers, spread across eight sites, are using their expertise in structural, roofing, electrical, plumbing and flooring to repair, refurbish and upgrade existing rural medical and school facilities in the province.


“To come out and work to make someone’s life better is rewarding,” said Marine Corps Cpl. David Ricketts, 7th Engineer Support Battalion combat engineer. “Most Marines don’t get the opportunity to work with other services in this capacity.”


All though most PAC ANGEL participants don’t share the host nation’s language, the hugs and smiles exchanged transcend all language barriers.


Now entering its 11th year, PAC ANGEL ensures the region’s militaries are prepared to work together to address humanitarian crisis. Since 2007, PAC ANGEL engagements have impacted the lives of tens of thousands of people by providing health services, humanitarian aid, disaster relief and subject matter expert exchanges.


“The relationships we have built and sustained with our multinational partners in the Indo-Pacific region throughout engagements, civil military operations, and military exchanges, help preserve peace and stability in the region,” said Trinh.


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