Welcoming Ceremony. LCDR Aimee Treffiletti, Senior Airman Walker,
LT Nazmul Hassan, and LCDR Stephen Piontkowski at a welcoming
ceremony at one of the schools where they collected water samples.
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A multidisciplinary team of officers in the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps is serving on the USS Peleliu, a multipurpose amphibious ship on a medical, dental, public health, and humanitarian-assistance mission in Southeast Asia and the Western and Outer Pacific Islands. The ship departed San Diego on May 23, 2007. In addition to providing humanitarian assistance, the team will help build the public health infrastructure in communities near where the ship docks.
The Commissioned Corps is taking part in this mission with three sequential teams of up to five Corps officers each remaining with the USS Peleliu for approximately 1 month. The Commissioned Corps officer in charge is CAPT Kathleen Downs, a pharmacist in the Office of the Secretary, who remains with the USS Peleliu for the duration of the 3-month mission.
During its voyage, the USS Peleliu is delivering medical, dental, veterinary, educational, and preventive medicine and engineering services to people of the Western Pacific region. For example, in addition to primary patient care, USS Peleliu's nurses trained more than 400 Filipino heath providers during an education exchange in July, and the mission's veterinary care professionals treated close to 1,000 animals.
The Commissioned Corps officers are working with the U.S. Navy, Army, and Air Force as well as health care professionals from the uniformed services of foreign partner nations. The effort is being carried out with volunteers from several non-governmental organizations and partnerships with local medical professionals.
Because the ship is designed to facilitate the transfer of personnel ashore (via boats and helicopters), the USS Peleliu is an extraordinarily effective ship for performing humanitarian assistance and public health infrastructure building missions. The USS Peleliu's first foreign port on the mission was Manila, Philippines, in mid-June. Subsequent visits include the Bicol region of the Philippines, as well as sites in Mindanao, Philippines; Da Nang, Vietnam; Singapore; Madang, Papua New Guinea; Gizo, Solomon Islands; and Majuro, Marshall Islands before arriving into Honolulu, Hawaii, in mid-September.
For more information about the USS Peleliu, click here.