SAN DIEGO - The hospital ship USNS Mercy left San Diego Wednesday for the 11th annual Pacific Partnership humanitarian voyage.
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 is accompanying the Mercy.
The deployment is being 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.