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NEWS | July 28, 2020

Task Force Koa Moana 20 Deploys to Strengthen Relationships in Indo-Pacific

By 1st Lt. Oscar Castro I Marine Expeditionary Force

MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. -- Task Force Koa Moana 20, composed of U.S. Marines and Sailors from I Marine Expeditionary Force (MEF), deployed to the Indo-Pacific to conduct theater security cooperation activities in the Republic of Palau from July to September 2020.

Task Force Koa Moana 20 is embarked aboard the expeditionary fast ship United States Naval Ship City of Bismarck (EPF 9), composed of approximately 100 U.S. Marines and Sailors from 1st Marine Division, 1st Marine Logistics Group, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, and I MEF Information Group. The Task Force is task-organized into multiple detachments with expertise in medical, engineering, law enforcement, and explosives ordnance disposal (EOD).

Koa Moana 20 provides a unique opportunity to enhance relationships with the Republic of Palau. The Task Force is prepared to conduct projects and exchanges on the island of Peleliu and the capitol island, Koror, in order to affirm the U.S. commitment to the Compact of Free Association (COFA) and to enhance interoperability when responding to Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HA/DR) operations. Additionally, the Task Force stands ready to conduct key leader engagements and provide subject matter expert exchanges as required.

Koa Moana, which means “Ocean Warrior,” is designed to strengthen and enhance relationships between the U.S. and partner nations in the Indo-Pacific region, improve interoperability with local security establishments, and serve as a Humanitarian Assistance Survey Team (HAST) afloat in support of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command (USINDOPACOM) strategic and operational objectives.

Task Force Koa Moana 20 diligently planned and adhered to strict COVID-19 mitigation measures to include pre-deployment quarantine, screening, and testing. On June 23, before embarkation, all Marines and Sailors tested negative for COVID-19. During the transit, the Task Force implemented strict mitigation measures as well. Upon arrival to Palau, Task Force personnel were retested by the Ministry of Health. All Marines and Sailors tested negative for COVID-19. Task Force Koa Moana 20 extends their gratitude to the Palau Ministry of Health for their professionalism and service in this joint effort to keep Palau healthy.

As an extra precaution, the Task Force will work on Peleliu to repair the airfield for 14 days and will have no close contact with residents. This will serve as a quarantine period, and at the conclusion of the 14-day period the Task Force will be retested for a third time before having contact with Palau’s residents. Additionally, the Task Force will continuously monitor the health of all assigned service members throughout the deployment. The health and safety of U.S. service members and Palauan citizens is our priority.

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