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RAAF aviators help restore Mongolian hospital

written by Robert Dougherty | September 1, 2023

Seven aviators were deployed to central Mongolia to help restore a local hospital as part of Exercise Pacific Angel.

Under the US-led exercise, the civil engineering team from the RAAF is working with partners from the United States, the Mongolian Armed Forces, and civilian agencies to restore a local hospital.

The restoration is the latest task under Exercise Pacific Angel, which brings together regional stakeholders to improve the lives of people across the Indo-Pacific.

The RAAF deployed a range of skills to support the remote Mongolian villages of Tsetserleg and Jargalent, including carpentry, plumbing and plant operations.


It is hoped that the exercise will help the RAAF deepen their regional partnerships, Wing Commander Paul Howell, Commanding Officer of 65 Air Base Recovery Squadron, said.

“There’s a strategic goal to this exercise, where our professional engagement and support to Mongolia helps build regional partnerships,” WGCDR Howell said.

“For our aviators, the exercise builds partnerships at the local level as they apply their skills in restoring civil infrastructure within remote Mongolian communities.”

The aviators were able to integrate into a multinational task force and build an enduring relationship between Mongolia and Australia, detachment commander Warrant Officer Andrew Warmington told Defence media.

“The RAAF team always stands out on these international exercises, as our trades personnel are fully qualified in their chosen trades having completed a 3-4-year apprenticeship,” WOFF Warmington said.

“Their ability to innovate in the refurbishment of an ageing and isolated hospital with little construction materials and minimal tooling was a pleasure to watch.”

“The reciprocal exchanges are key to improving the capability of all partners, gaining a better understanding of each other’s (construction) methodologies and standards for future cooperation,” WGCDR Howell said.

In late August, the ADF commenced support for Pacific Partnership 2023 providing specialist personnel to five countries across the Indo-Pacific region from August to December.

ADF personnel will support mission stops in the Philippines, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Fiji, and Tonga. As part of these mission stops, Australia will provide tailored medical, dental, nursing, and environmental health support, guidance on gender, peace and security (GPS) considerations for operations and participate in a variety of training opportunities and information exchanges.

Deputy Chief of Joint Operations, Air Vice-Marshal Michael Kitcher, AM, DSM, said Pacific Partnership 2023 was an enduring commitment to the region and a significant opportunity to strengthen partnerships and support Pacific communities.

Approximately 30 ADF personnel will be involved in the mission, with a team of health specialists and GPS advisers arriving in the Philippines this week, joining Royal Australian Navy musicians on board the United States ship Pearl Harbor.

“ADF participation in Pacific Partnership 2023 demonstrates our enduring commitment to enhancing resilience and preparedness to respond to natural disasters in the Indo-Pacific region,” AVM Kitcher said.

AVM Kitcher added, “Strong relationships are the foundation for responding to shared security challenges and Pacific Partnership enables us to cooperate with partners, build on our shared capacity, and bring nations together to support a peaceful, stable, and prosperous region.

Now in its 18th year, Pacific Partnership strengthens alliances and promotes multilateral disaster management resilience in the Indo-Pacific region.

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