LALMONIRHAT, Bangladesh (AFNS) —
More than 50 U.S. military personnel, alongside service members from Nepal, Sri Lanka and Thailand, conducted several humanitarian assistance events throughout Lalmonirhat during exercise Pacific Angel 19-1, June 22-28, 2019.
Throughout that time, the U.S. and partner nations teamed up to provide medical care and engineering assistance as well as conduct subject matter expert exchanges with the Bangladesh Air Force and civil organizations, such as the Red Crescent and Ministry of Health.
“Pacific Air Forces is honored to be a part of this important effort during Pacific Angel’s 12th year,” said U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Mark Crosby, Oregon Air National Guard assistant adjutant general and State Partnership Program director. “Pacific Angel events are a tangible expression of the United States’ commitment to South Asia and the U.S. Indo Pacific Command’s region and demonstrate our continuing resolve to support international disaster and humanitarian relief efforts in this region. This is a lasting demonstration of our commitment to the great people of Bangladesh and towards enhancing our bilateral relations with the proud men and women of the Bangladesh Air Force.”
Oregon and Bangladesh are paired up through the State Partnership Program, which is run by the U.S. Department of Defense. Through the SPP, the National Guard conducts military-to-military engagements in support of defense security goals.
“One of the goals of Pac Angel is to build partner capacity and strengthen these relationships so that we are able to better operate together in the future, particularly when it comes to humanitarian assistance and disaster relief,” said U.S. Air Force Maj. Kristoffer Palmer, a 152nd Air Wing, Nevada Air National Guard, navigator and Pac Angel 19-1 mission commander. “Being here and seeing improvements happen day by day is a once in a lifetime opportunity.”
Based on the need of the Lalmonirhat community, the Bangladeshi government chose a local high school as the primary location to provide medical services to community residents. The high school and four additional schools received structural updates and projects provided by U.S. Air Force civil engineers.
The medical care provided at the clinics included dental, optometry and general medicine services. Care was given with the assistance of Bangladeshi translators, who worked to ensure each patient’s needs were clearly communicated.
“It’s a mission of goodwill and of humanitarian efforts for the Bangladeshi people, and also the opportunity to work with people from other countries and learn how to work together to treat patients in a multicultural setting,” said U.S. Air Force Capt. Alan Bordon, a 35th Medical Group physician, Misawa Air Base, Japan. “We’re lucky to be here to provide something to these people and let them know that we’re here to help.”
Now in its 12th year, Pac Angel has ensured the region’s militaries are prepared to work together.
Since 2007, Pac Angel engagements have impacted the lives of tens of thousands of people by providing health services ranging from dental, optometry, pediatrics and physical therapy to civil engineer programs, humanitarian aid and disaster relief and subject matter expert exchanges.
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Author: 2nd Lt. Brigitte Brantley