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NEWS | Nov. 17, 2021

Commander of Marine Forces Pacific Visits Republic of Palau

By 1st Lt. Duane Kampa I Marine Expeditionary Force

KOROR, Republic of Palau – The commander of U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific (MARFORPAC) met with the Marines and Sailors of Task Force Koa Moana 21 during a visit to the Republic of Palau Nov. 5-8, 2021.

U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Steven R. Rudder, commander, MARFORPAC, visited the Marines and Sailors as they worked with the Republic of Palau as a sign of partnership and commitment.

Palau and the U.S. have a storied history of friendship dating back almost 100 years. Since that time, the relationship has grown and strengthened to what it is today. As a testament to their friendship, the Republic of Palau and the U.S. entered into the Compact of Free Association (COFA) in 1982. Task forces such as Koa Moana 21 help reaffirm the U.S.’s commitment to the COFA and promote ideals shared by both nations, such as a free and open Indo-Pacific for all countries, regardless of size or population.

Rudder was able to examine several projects completed by Task Force Koa Moana 21, to include the joint range complex, road improvements in Peleliu and improvements made for the Palau Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting station.

“The Marines and Sailors of Task Force Koa Moana 21 have been doing great work in Palau,” said Rudder. “It’s been rewarding to see firsthand the infrastructure projects they have completed and the positive impact they have had in the community.”

Additionally, Rudder was able to meet with other key leaders to include Surangel Whipps, Jr., president of the Republic of Palau; U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Palau, Ambassador John Hennessey-Niland; Temmy Shmull, governor of Peleliu State and Kenoski Suzuki, governor of Angaur State.

“The United States’ network of allies and partners continues to be our nation’s greatest strength,” said Rudder. “The efforts of Task Force Koa Moana Marines reinforce our nation’s commitment to the Palauan people, and advance our shared interests not just in Palau but across the Indo-Pacific.”

The visit occurred shortly after the death of Ibedul Yutaka Gibbons, Palau’s paramount chief and a U.S. Army veteran. Rudder and Task Force Koa Moana 21 extend their deepest condolences to our partners in Palau as they mourn the passing of our deceased brother in arms.

Task Force Koa Moana 21 is comprised of Marines and Sailors from I Marine Expeditionary Force, a subordinate command of MARFORPAC. Koa Moana, which means “Ocean Warrior,” is designed to strengthen and enhance relationships between the United States and partner nations in the Indo-Pacific region, improve interoperability with local security establishments and serve as a humanitarian assistance survey team afloat in support of USINDOPACIFIC strategic and operational objectives.

Task Force Koa Moana 21 has the unique opportunity and privilege of working with the Republic of Palau as a sign of the U.S. commitment to the people of Palau and our partners and allies in the Indo-Pacific Region.

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