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8 Nevada Guard Airmen support humanitarian mission in Tonga

  • Published
  • By Staff Report
Eight Airmen from the Nevada Air National Guard joined 160 people from seven nations Monday to provide humanitarian assistance to the citizens of Tonga as part of Operation Pacific Angel-Tonga. The mission will continue until July 26. Tonga is Nevada National Guard's partner in the National Guard's State Partnership Program, the Department of Defense program that links a state's National Guard with the armed forces or equivalent of a partner country in a cooperative, mutually beneficial relationship.

The Nevada Air National Guard is supporting Pacific Angel this week by providing Airmen who are experts in medical care and civil engineering. Specialized Airmen will assist with both the medical health services outreach mission that focuses on general health and primary care, dentistry, optometry, women's health and pediatrics as well as the engineering civic action programs mission that focuses on the repair and refurbishment of medical and school facilities in Vava'u, Tonga.

On the first day of the exercise, American, Tongan, French, Australian, New Zealand, Filipino and Indonesian military personnel teamed to provide health services and complete civil engineering projects at three local schools. During the upcoming week, electricians, structural craftsmen, carpenters and plumbers will work together to make improvements to five local schools.

Also, a makeshift clinic was set up in a local college auditorium with physical therapy, optometry, dental and family medicine clinics as well as a pharmacy. With the help of Red Cross volunteer interpreters, doctors and medical technicians were able to provide care and educate patients on preventative health measures for different ailments.

"Pacific Angel is definitely a worthy project. We are working with different partners to provide services that Tongans may not have on a daily basis," said Maj. Paul Kim, a public health officer.

The Nevada National Guard and the Kingdom of Tonga are one of the newest official relationships in the National Guard's State Partnership Program. The partnership pact was signed April 11 in Tonga. The SPP was established in 1994 and, with the addition of the Nevada/Tonga partnership, now features 68 partnerships involving 74 nations around the world.