Pacific Partnership 2014 Enhances Relations Through Work and Play

By MC1 Stephen Oleksiak, Pacific Partnership Public Affairs

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EO1 Jared Perry (left), 30th NCR, picks up trash with a service
member from the Timor-Leste Defense Force during a project in Dili, Timor-Leste, June 13, in
support of Pacific Partnership 2014. Photo by MC2 Derek Stroop

In an effort to build community relations and improve the local environment in Dili, Timor-Leste, participants from Pacific Partnership 2014 conducted a beach clean-up with local environmental youth groups, June 14.

Local youth, embassy officials and service members from Timor-Leste, Australia, New Zealand and the United States walked together along a stretch of city beach in Dili straightening things up to promote community and a clean environment.

According to U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Benjamin Howlett, 84th Civil Affairs Battalion and event coordinator, it’s not just about a clean beach, but also enhancing relationships.

“Events like these bring everyone a little closer together,” said Howlett. “It shows that there are all kinds of people who care about environmental stewardship and will offer assistance, and we enjoy getting to do this in partnership with local youth who also care about the issue.”

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Service members
from Australia, New Zealand, Timor-Leste and the United States pick up
trash during a project in support of Pacific Partnership
2014, Dili, Timor-Leste, June 13. Photo by MC1 Stephen
Oleksiak

Naza Santos, 19 and a native of Dili, is a testament to that example.

“I don’t think people here are really concerned about the environment as much as they should be,” said Santos. “It was kind of inspiring to see all these foreign people out here helping our community.”

As the crowd grew larger with people who were just passing by, participants felt a sense of professional and personal accomplishment.

“It was very moving and rewarding to be out here, especially when all the little kids started joining in,” said Australian Air Force Leading Aircraftswoman Teagan Walker. “The best part was having all the nations come together to help out.”

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The Pacific Partnership team of Americans, Australians and New Zealanders plot strategy during a community outreach event at Comoro Soccer Field during Pacific Partnership 2014, Dili, Timor Leste, June 14. Photo by MC1 Dustin Q. Diaz

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The Pacific Partnership team of Americans, Australians and New Zealanders plays soccer with a local squad during a community outreach event at Comoro Soccer Field during Pacific Partnership 2014, Dili, Timor Leste, June 14. Photo by MC1 Dustin Q. Diaz

Pacific Partnership is in its ninth iteration and is the largest annual multilateral humanitarian assistance and disaster relief preparedness mission conducted in the Asia-Pacific region.

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