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HMAS Tobruk arrives in Wewak

VIPs at the opening ceremony for Pacific Partnership 2013 in Wewak Papua New Guinea. Left to right: Commander Leif Maxfield, Commander Stewart Dunne, Air Commodore Ken Quinn, Colonel Walter Enuma, the Honourable Dr Sharman Stone MP, Captain Bruce Greig, Commander Bill Haggerson and Colonel Dick Parker.

HMAS Tobruk has arrived in Wewak in the East Sepik Province of Papua New Guinea. Over 100 embarked personnel travelling with HMAS Tobruk are bringing medical, dental, veterinary and engineering assistance to the township.

Australian and American personnel were formally welcomed to Wewak at an opening ceremony ashore.
Air Commodore (AIRCDRE) Ken Quinn, Director General Joint Exercise and Evaluation Branch said the support from the Wewak Provincial Authority in the lead up and preparation to this program has been outstanding.

“Papua New Guinea is Australia’s closest neighbour,” he said

“Pacific Partnership was conceived by the United States Navy’s Pacific Fleet following the 2004 earthquake and tsunami as a way to improve the interoperability of the region’s military forces, governance and humanitarian organisations during disaster relief operations,” he added.

“The Australian Defence Force has been involved in every Pacific Partnership mission since it commenced in 2006. This year’s Australian Defence Force led part of the mission is focussed on building capacity and working together,” AIRCDRE Quinn said.

Engineering teams from the Australian Army’s 6th Engineering Support Regiment and the United States Navy’s Amphibious Construction Battalion are renovating local schools while Australian Army, Navy and Air Force personnel are working with members of the United States Army’s 807th Medical Battalion to provide medical assistance.

Volunteers from HMAS Tobruk’s crew will also refurbish sports facilities, war memorials and public buildings.