25 July 2013
U.S. Navy Adm. Cecil D. Haney, commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet, speaks with Major Mitchell as he reviews a map of the mission’s project sites. [130717-N-SP369-479.jpg]
Tarawa Atoll, Kiribati is over 2,500 nautical miles due north of Nelson, and for the past ten days, one Nelson local has been leading a positive change in the small South Pacific nation.
Major (MAJ) Alistair Mitchell, from Richmond, is commanding an 88-person NZ Army contingent contributing to Pacific Partnership 2013 (PP13) in Kiribati from 14-26 July.
"I am responsible for coordinating the tasks and providing the necessary support for the engineering and medical personnel and other participants that are conducting the tasks with the local community."
In Kiribati, there are 123 NZDF personnel from all three services working alongside I-Kiribati hosts and partnership nations including Australia, Canada, Malaysia, South Korea, and the United States. The mission is focused on developing capacity and strengthening community infrastructure through a variety of engineering, medical, veterinary, humanitarian assistance, and community relations projects.
"PP13 gives a great opportunity for the NZ Defence Force to deploy personnel throughout the Pacific in cooperation with other nations, to support the local communities to have a better quality of life," said MAJ Mitchell.
"It also gives us a chance to practice deployment of our personnel and equipment in order to be well-prepared for disaster relief operations when they occur."
Pacific Partnership is the largest disaster preparedness mission in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region. It is a multinational operation designed to provide real world help to local people, whilst partner nations learn to work more effectively together.
For more information, contact Defence Communications Group on 021 487 980