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Pacific Angel 2015: U.S. and PNGDF Partnership

Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea – U.S. Ambassador Walter North and Brigadier General William R. Burks visited Goroka yesterday to attend the Pacific Angel 2015 closing ceremony. Leading the Papua New Guinea Defense Force (PNGDF) in the closing ceremony was the PNGDF Commander, Brigadier General Gilbert Toropo.

The joint and humanitarian assistance Pacific Angel operation, led by the U.S. Air Force, is designed to bring humanitarian civic assistance and combined civil-military operations to various areas of the Pacific region. The exercise enhanced Papua New Guinea’s humanitarian assistance and disaster relief capabilities and provided needed humanitarian and medical services to the people of Unggai-Bena district in Eastern Highlands Province. The Pacific Angel Goroka team consisted of U.S. and PNGDF medical professionals, logistics personnel, planners, and contracting specialists.

Doctors, dentists, and pharmacists from the United States, Papua New Guinea, and the Australian, New Zealand, Indonesian and Philippine militaries, along with 32 volunteers from the provincial hospital and local villages, treated more than 600 patients a day at Unggai Primary School during Pacific Angel 2015.

During his closing ceremony remarks, Ambassador North praised the U.S. Air Force personnel and PNGDF team members for their excellent work and superb humanitarian assistance to the people of Goroka and the Eastern Highlands Province.

Ambassador North said, “This effort reflects the best values of a real partnership. You are building deeper mutual trust and cooperation between our two great countries. That kind of cooperation is a foundation stone for enduring peace and security in the region: a tangible manifestation of President Obama’s desire to increase our engagement in the Pacific.” Such close partnerships and combined military cooperation were key elements for Pacific Angel 2015’s success.

Brigadier General Burks is the Adjutant General for the State of Nevada in the United States. The General visited Papua New Guinea to observe U.S. Air Force participation in the Pacific Angel 2015 military-to-military humanitarian assistance exercise in Goroka. The General will meet with key PNGDF personnel and Papua New Guinea government representatives during a stop-over in Port Moresby.

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