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U.S., Vietnam building great relations says U.S. Counsul General

  • Published
  • By Capt. Timothy Lundberg
  • 36th Wing Public Affairs
Counsul General Kenneth J. Fairfax, from the United States Consulate in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, expressed his thanks to the U.S. and Vietnam for expanding their relationship through Operation Pacific Angel after touring the hosting facility here May 10.

The Tan Thoi Village Elementary School is the site for a medical clinic set up by the U.S. and Vietnamese military and non-governmental agencies to provide family practice, dentistry, optometry and women's health to the Vietnamese residents surrounding the Can Thon area as part of Pacific Angel 10-2.

Operation Pacific Angel is a joint and combined humanitarian assistance operation conducted in the Pacific area in support of U.S. Pacific Command capacity-building efforts. It also trains civil-military operators to work together with a focus on civic assistance. The medical and engineering missions are scheduled to run May 10 through 17 in Vietnam.

Counsul General Fairfax witnessed first-hand the combined effort of the U.S. and Vietnam personnel working shoulder-to-shoulder to provide medical and engineering assistance to residents of the Can Tho region.

"I just want to thank the whole team that's down here for Pacific Angel, because what you're doing is building great relations between the United States and Vietnam," said Consul General Fairfax.

After receiving their supplies and establishing the logistics necessary to see and treat patients on May 9, U.S. and Vietnam medical personnel were prepared to work side-by-side and braced for the influx of patients they would see on opening day. A cross paring of physicians and medical technicians, within their respective specialties, from the two countries allows both sides to work together and learn as patients from the Can Tho region were treated at the temporary clinic.

Lt. Col. Kara Gormont, the medical site manager for Pacific Angel 10-2 deployed from the 36th Medical Group at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, noted how months of preparation and planning with their Vietnamese counterparts was paying off in the treatment of dozens patients.

"The Vietnamese were well prepared," said Colonel Gormont. "All of our requests have been met and have exceeded our expectations. In fact, as changes have been necessary throughout the treating of individuals they've been able to adapt much better than we have."

In addition to the medical events, an estimated $59,000 in repairs for two concurrent engineering events are occuring at Tan Thoi Village and Truong Thanh Thai Lai Medical Clinics. Both locations are slated for infrastructure improvement by both U.S. and Vietnam military engineers to include: ceiling installation, door and window repairs, plumbing repairs, new electrical wiring and fixtures May 9 through 15.

To date, Tan Thoi engineers from the U.S. and Vietnam repaired plumbing, installed a dental chair and began installation of lights and ceiling fans. At the Truong Thanh Village Medical Clinic, door jams and windows were installed and more than 400 ft. of electrical wiring.

Master Sgt. Kenneth Way, deployed from the 3rd Civil Engineer Squadron at Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska, commented on his experiences so far in Vietnam.

"I worked with an electrical engineer from the Vietnamese military today," Sergeant Way said. " He was awesome [to work with] and very knowledgeable. Our electricians enjoyed working with him."

The Tan Thoi Village Elementary School medical clinic encountered more than 870 patients through the various clinics to include: 70 pediatric, 57 women's health, 98 dental, 224 optometry, and 421 family practice patients in addition to more than 1,470 perscriptions were provided during the first day.

The medical clinic at Tan Thoi will continue through May 12 and then relocate to their second site at Uy Ban Nhan Dan in the Thai Lai District of Can Tho May 12 through 15.