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Navy hospital ship off on humanitarian mission

Posted at 3:22 PM, May 09, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-09 18:22:08-04

The hospital ship USNS Mercy is scheduled to leave San Diego on Wednesday for the 11th annual Pacific Partnership humanitarian voyage, the Navy announced Monday.

The Mercy and its crew of medical and dental professionals, veterinarians, engineers and members of aid organizations will visit Timor Leste, the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Palau and Indonesia during the 4 1/2- month mission. Personnel from Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Canada, and the United Kingdom will also participate.

The Coronado-based Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 21 will accompany the Mercy.

The deployment will be led by Capt. Tom Williams, commander of the San Diego-based Destroyer Squadron 23.

Pacific Partnership started after the destructive Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004. Participants conduct humanitarian assistance activities and help the visited nations improve maritime security and strengthen disaster response preparedness.