Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Opening Day in Cambodia

The Opening Ceremony for the Pacific Partnership 2010 in Cambodia took place June 16 on the pier in Sihanoukville, which is the country’s only port. This marks the first time in its five years that a US Pacific Fleet humanitarian team has come to Cambodia, bringing a range of medical, dental, veterinary, and engineering service. Providers come from Australia, Canada, France, Japan, Singapore, and the United Kingdom, as well as the United States.

The event to launch this Cambodian portion of the civic assistance project was resplendent with military regalia and was intensely covered by dozens of reporters and photographers.

Dr. Marshall Cusic, M.D, retired Navy Rear Admiral, was in attendance and represented Project HOPE as director of the current rotation. As pictured here, he made the journey between the ship and the land via a local wooden boat along with uniformed servicemen from all four military services.

On the pier which is used for fleet landing and where the Japanese ship JDS Kunisaki is now docked, an orange tent was erected adjacent to a formal stage of wood and granite. As the temperature rose to 97F and the humidity rose to 96%, the brass band from the USNS Mercy played on.

The array of dignitaries as photographed were: Carol Rodley, the US Ambassador to Cambodia; Commodore Lisa Franchetti, USNS Mercy, Pacific Partnership 2010 Commander; General Neang Phat, Secretary of State Defense Minister of Cambodia; Commodore Shunyo Susaki of the Kunisaki; and Masafumi Kuroki Japanese Ambassador to Cambodia. Their speeches emphasized the fact that Cambodia’s people eagerly want and need the assistance which this humanitarian exercise brings.

During the afternoon, tours of the hospital ship were provided to many people who had made their way over from land, including the two Ambassadors and the many reporters from Cambodia, Japan, Australia, the US, and beyond.

Thanks for reading - Mary Hamill, Ph.D.,Project HOPE PAO

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