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U.S. builds bonds in Papua New Guinea

Navy Lt. Austin Stokes, (right), and Air Force Maj. Nicole Smith (center), both dentists, talk to a patient at the Pacific Angel 19-4 health outreach site in Lae, Papua New Guinea. The health outreach site is comprised of five clinics including primary care, optometry, dental, physical therapy and pharmacy. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jerilyn Quintanilla) Navy Lt. Austin Stokes, (right), and Air Force Maj. Nicole Smith (center), both dentists, talk to a patient at the Pacific Angel 19-4 health outreach site in Lae, Papua New Guinea. The health outreach site is comprised of five clinics including primary care, optometry, dental, physical therapy and pharmacy. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jerilyn Quintanilla)

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JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii — The United States conducted health service outreach, engineering civic action programs and subject matter exchanges Sept. 9 to Sept. 13, in Lae, Marabe Province, Papua New Guinea, as part of exercise Pacific Angel 19-4.

Approximately 70 U.S. and 20 multilateral service members participated in Pacific Angel 19-4, enhancing Papua New Guinea defense force’s humanitarian assistance and disaster relief capabilities while providing medical outreach services.

Civil engineering teams renovated Bowali Primary School, Hounville Primary School, Igam Barracks Primary School and Butibam Primary School, conducting carpentry and masonry, roofing, painting, plumbing and electrical work this exercise. Medical experts conducted health services outreach events focusing on general medicine, pediatrics, physical therapy, optometry, dental, pharmacy and public health. Subject matter expert exchanges will cover construction safety, public health, dental health, communicable and non-communicable disease prevention, emergency response for medical providers and non-lethal crowd control.

“The United States and Papua New Guinea have an enduring relationship going back more than 70 years,” said Catherine Ebert-Gray, U.S. Ambassador to Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu. “With our shared history and shared values, (Papua New Guinea) is a vital partner in the Pacific region. Exercises like (Pacific) Angel reaffirm that partnership and our commitment to building capacity and resiliency for (Papua New Guinea) and its defense force.”

This is the second Pacific Angel exercise conducted in Papua New Guinea. The first was held in June 2015. This year, service members from Australia, Fiji, New Zealand and the Philippines participated.

“Pacific Angel is a great way for the United States and Papua New Guinea service members to work side by side and exercise disaster responses and humanitarian assistance scenarios,” said Air Force Lt. Col. Ingrid Kaat, Pacific Air Forces International Affairs South Asia and Oceania branch chief.

Pacific Angel 19-4 wrapped up the 2019 series of Pacific Angel exercises for fiscal year 2019. The first two exercises were conducted in Bangladesh in June and Mongolia in July, where similar health service outreach, engineering civic action programs and subject matter exchanges events took place.

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