PAC ANGEL 19-4 brings medical, engineering aid to PNG

PAC ANGEL 19-4 brings medical, engineering aid to PNG

 

Lae, Morobe Province: U.S. Pacific Air Forces are gearing up for a grand closure to the Pacific Angel 19-4 medical and engineering exercises in Lae Morobe Province. The military team from the U.S. kicked off its fourth and final Pacific Angel (PAC ANGEL) exercise of the year on September 9, 2019.

U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Ryan Evans, Pacific Angel 19-4 mission commander, and Papua New Guinea Defense Force Lt. Col. Bruno Malau, XX Battalion commander, have been at the forefront of discussions on PAC ANGEL 19-4 civic action project plans at Igam Base in Lae, throughout the course of this month.

U.S. Navy LT Austin Stokes and U.S. Air Force Maj. Nicole Smith, both Pacific Angel 19-4 dentists, talk to a patient at the health outreach site in Lae.

Since its inception in 2007, PAC ANGEL has evolved to an annual joint and combined humanitarian operation that provides general health and engineering assistance to nations in the Pacific region. This is the second PAC ANGEL engagement to take place in PNG.

“What we’re doing specifically is refurbishing several school sites here in Lae and also running a health services outreach at one of the school sites,” said Lt. Col. Ryan Evans, PAC ANGEL 19-4 mission commander. “Another important part of PAC ANGEL is we’re conducting subject-matter expert exchanges. We put some of our brightest professionals from various specialties together so they can talk and share and learn.”

More than 80 military members from the U.S. Air Force, Army, Navy and Marines, the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) and the Republic of Fiji Military Forces, along with the Papua New Guinea Defense Force and the Red Cross in the local area are part of the effort.

The health services outreach initiative for PAC ANGEL 19-4 includes the staging of five clinics: primary care, optometry, physical therapy, pharmacy and dental. The engineering component includes civic action projects at several schools where a team of more than 25 engineers renovated classrooms, restored water catchment systems used to filter drinking water, and repair bathroom facilities.

After 12 years and more than 30 iterations, PAC ANGEL engagements have directly impacted tens of thousands of people throughout the Pacific and gives participating countries the opportunity to build relationships and strengthen capabilities.

“PAC ANGEL prepares us for the types of responses we might need to have in the event of a humanitarian disaster,” said RAAF Flt. Lt. Emma Dingle. “Getting to know each other and how our respective militaries function and how we can best work together means that we can provide a smoother response in the event that something goes wrong that we’re not expecting.”

PAC ANGEL 19-4 is scheduled to conclude this Saturday, September 14, with a closing ceremony at Bowali Primary school in Lae, Morobe Province.