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NEWS | March 5, 2024

Newest Pacific Veterinary Treatment Facility Enhances Care, Strengthens Partnerships in Japan

Public Health Command-Pacific

Despite intermittent downpours and cloudy skies, a palpable sense of excitement and anticipation filled the air as the Public Health Command-Pacific (PHC-P), Veterinary Readiness Activity, Japan (VRA, J) and Commander, Fleet Activities Sasebo leadership (CFAS) came together on January 18, 2024, to celebrate the opening of the newest Veterinary Treatment Facility (VTF) in the Pacific.

The ribbon-cutting ceremony, held at Hario Village, marked a significant milestone in the collaborative efforts between the U.S. Army, U.S. Navy, and the support of the U.S.-Japan Status of Forces Agreement.

"Today, we recognize a collaboration and partnership between Army Public Health Command, the U.S. Navy, and the Government of Japan," said PHC-P Commander, Col. Brad Franklin. "This permanent, dedicated facility is critical to us providing the best veterinary care to everyone here in the Sasebo community."

The completion of this dedicated care facility was made possible through the collaborative efforts of various services and government entities, underscoring a shared commitment to the critical mission of the Veterinary Corps.

"This VTF has been many years in the making, and we're standing here today because of the relationships between the U.S. Army, U.S. Navy, VRA, J and Commander, Fleet Activities Sasebo," said VRA, J Commander, Dr. (Lt. Col) Jamie Brown. "The combined relationships are stronger than they've ever been and have gone so far as utilizing space at Hario Clinic, which was thinking outside the box to provide the best care and support until this building was completed."

He also highlighted the unique and critical nature of VRA, J's mission, emphasizing its impact at the national strategic level. In addition to caring for MWDs and pets of service members, the Sasebo VTF interactions with the Japanese Government are pivotal in maintaining a strong alliance and upholding the U.S.-Japan Status of Forces Agreement through non-combatant evacuation operations (NEO) and pet quarantine exams, supporting the Japanese Government's efforts to maintain a rabies-free country.

Brown further emphasized the broader mission of VRA, J, saying, "Not only do we provide the animal medicine mission here, but also food safety and defense across Japan, ensuring ships, sailors, and families have a safe food supply."

Throughout 2023, VRA, J Soldiers, Civilians, and Master Labor Contractors (MLC) conducted 2,829 pet quarantine exams and inspected 4,000 tons of imported meat products. This support aims to protect against zoonotic and agricultural disease introduction, involving direct liaison with Government of Japan agencies.

"The Sasebo Team is small but mighty, and these Army Soldiers, MLC, and Nonappropriated Fund Civilians are the driving forces behind the success of our mission; without them, excellence would be unattainable," added Brown.

Following the formal ribbon-cutting, Sasebo VTF Officer-in-charge, Dr. (Maj.) Mary Pico, and Noncommissioned officer-in-charge, Staff Sgt. Ryan Spach, saw their first patient, MWD Jutas from the CFAS Kennels, who proved to be an exceptionally well-behaved participant in the ceremony and patient in the new exam room.