News Release

Pacific Partnership 2009 Pearl Harbor

May 19, 2009

The Pacific Partnership mission now will deploy on board USNS Richard E. Byrd (T-AKE 4), a Military Sealift Command underway replenishment ship assigned to Commander, U.S. Seventh Fleet, it was announced May 18.

Due to an abundance of caution, USS Dubuque (LPD-8) was pulled from the mission May 5, after a number of crew members were confirmed to have H1N1 influenza.

"We are pleased to be able to continue on with Pacific Partnership and meet our commitments to the host nations," said the Pacific Partnership 2009 Mission Commander, Capt. Andrew Cully.

"After reviewing the available Navy assets and their capabilities, USNS Richard E. Byrd proved to have more than enough storage space for equipment and supplies necessary to support the mission."

"Partner nations and NGOs remain a part of the mission team and we expect to execute a significant portion of the projects planned for in our initial concept of operations," said Cully.

The Pacific Partnership mission team and much of its equipment and supplies are scheduled to depart San Diego in early June on board USNS Amelia Earhart (T-AKE 6), which will be making its first deployment to Seventh Fleet. The mission team, along with its equipment and supplies, will be transferred at sea to USNS Richard E. Byrd during the transit to Oceania, allowing the Earhart to meet follow on commitments.

Pacific Partnership will visit all five nations originally announced - Samoa, Tonga, Solomon Islands, Kiribati and Marshall Islands.

Byrd has a crew of 124 civil service mariners working for MSC as well as a military detachment of 11 Sailors who provide operational support and supply coordination. When needed, Byrd can also carry a supply detachment.

MSC operates approximately 110 noncombatant, merchant marine-crewed ships that replenish U.S. Navy ships, conduct specialized missions, strategically preposition combat cargo at sea around the world and move military cargo and supplies used by deployed U.S. forces and coalition partners.

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