By Oyaol Ngirairikl,
Joint Region Marianas Public Affairs
U.S. NAVAL BASE GUAM - Approximately 50 Sailors from Maritime Expeditionary Security Squadron (MSRON) 7 Security Division 71 departed U.S. Naval Base Guam aboard USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) May 24 to begin their participation in the international humanitarian mission Pacific Partnership 2010.
Mercy, a Military Sealift Command hospital ship, is the platform from which hundreds of civilians and service members from all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces will operate the mission. The ship was moored in Guam to bring on mission-support teams, supplies and other equipment. The five-month humanitarian deployment will offer a variety of engineering, medical, dental, subject matter expert exchanges, and logistic civic action programs to six countries: Vietnam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Timor-Leste, Papua New Guinea, and Republic of Palau.
While deployed, MSRON 7 Sailors will help provide force security protection for the mission as well as support security operations at host nations.
"Our mission, primarily, is to provide an embarked security team for the USNS Mercy while she's traveling during Pacific Partnership and to provide oversight for land security," said Chief Warrant Officer 2 John San Nicolas, mission commander for the MSRON 7 deployment. This is San Nicolas' third deployment with Pacific Partnership.
Cmdr. Bryon Johnson, MSRON 7 commanding officer, said while MSRON Sailors are a special breed, he is particularly proud of the men and women deploying with Pacific Partnership. Johnson said the deployment will be an "eye-opener" for junior Sailors.
"They get an opportunity to do something that not a lot of service members do," he said. "They get the chance to directly help somebody. Humanitarian work is selfless. You don't get accolades; you don't get to do the fun things. I hope they get the experience and knowledge that helping other folks without the promise of immediate gain is extremely fulfilling."
Master-at-Arms 1st Class (AW) Christopher Fiske said Pacific Partnership 2010 will be his first humanitarian mission.
"I'm really looking forward to learning about the cultures of the host nations," Fiske said. "It's also a great opportunity for me, being out there as an ambassador for the United States and showing residents of other countries that we're here to help them and work with them to make life in our region of the world a better place."
For Master-at-Arms 3rd Class Kelly Douglas, Pacific Partnership 2010 will be his first deployment with MSRON 7.
"I'm really excited," Douglas said. "I'm fairly new to this, but I'm going to do the best I can to learn and grow and represent my command and my country while we're out there."
Douglas' wife, Randi Douglas, was among dozens of family members who wished the MSRON 7 Sailors farewell and safe travel at a pancake breakfast provided by United Service Organization Guam that morning. She said that while she's going to miss her husband, she's incredibly proud.
"He's going to be a part of this great thing, bringing medical help to so many people in our neighboring countries and being an ambassador of peace," Randi Douglas said. "I know he's going to do well."
MSRON 7 provides rapidly deployable forces to conduct or support anti-terrorism and force protection missions. MSRON 7 promotes the Maritime Strategy by providing security for American citizens, through the application of sea power, and by strengthening partnerships with allied nations.