PACOM bolsters relations with Indonesia through donation of hospital
January 26, 2006
In a move marking a further return toward normal military interaction with Indonesia, the United States has given an $11 million hospital to the island nation ravaged by the 2004 tsunami.
Hawaii-based Pacific Command donated a complete fleet hospital — 106 containers which, when set up, include operating rooms, laboratories, intensive-care beds, X-rays, a dental surgery unit and refrigerated blood banks, according to the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta, which helped make the donation.
“This is the largest donation known in Pacific Command,” Ambassador Lynn Pascoe was quoted in a written Embassy statement as saying. “It symbolizes the long-standing friendship and growing military cooperation between our two nations.”
The U.S government in November lifted an arms embargo imposed on the country in 1999, after Indonesian soldiers were accused of widespread human rights abuses.
In 2005, the United States agreed to resume military training for Indonesian officers under the International Military Education and Training program and later resumed sales of nonlethal military equipment.
The government lifted the full embargo in November, paving the way for military sales to Indonesia and continued military cooperation.
The two militaries further renewed ties in the aftermath of the December 2004 tsunami, which decimated parts of Indonesia’s Aceh province. The U.S. military provided about 4,500 tons of food and supplies to the nation over the next few months.
The idea for the hospital donation stemmed from talks between Rear Adm. Robert Hufstader, PACOM surgeon general, and Brig. Gen. Dr. Achmad Hiyadat, Indonesia’s surgeon general, during the tsunami relief efforts, according to PACOM.
The hospital will continue the assistance provided by the U.S. Navy hospital ship, USNS Mercy, which served as a floating hospital off the coast of Indonesia.
It also will help the Indonesian military with future disaster relief.
Last summer, the U.S. Navy also completed its first military exercise in Indonesia in several years, with Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training, a multiphase exercise held in several countries in Asia.
The equipment was delivered to Indonesia from Okinawa by Pacific Command’s director of logistics, engineering, and security assistance, Army Brig. Gen. Ken Dowd, who attended a donation ceremony Friday.