U.S. Army -- Service members from U.S. Army Pacific, the U.S. Marine Corps, the U.S. Navy, and the U.S. Coast Guard, along with 12 additional countries throughout the Pacific region, participated in a ceremony that commemorates the end of World War II operations in Europe, at Haut-commissariat de la République Tahiti, French Polynesia, May 8.
Also known as Victory of Europe Day, was established May 8, 1945, when Germany surrendered, ending World War II in Europe.
“The commemoration of May 8, 1945 is a very special event for France because it signifies the end of the Second World War in Europe after the Nazi capitulation,” said French Colonel Olivier Berbain, chief of staff of Armed Forces in French Polynesia.
“This date is also important because it is the memory of several tens of thousands of victims of a conflict that lasted 5 years and that may seem distant to some. Finally, it [commemoration ceremony] reminds us that partnership is a keystone of world strategy, and this is what France represents with its strategy of a balanced power entirely turned towards partnerships with allied countries.”
U.S. Navy Capt. Kevin Ralston stated that Victory of Europe Day honored the sacrifices during World War II and was a great opportunity for all U.S. Forces and allies to promote interoperability and strengthen ties between its allies and partners.
The ceremony marked the official start of the Marara 2022 exercise, which is a multinational humanitarian aid and disaster response training exercise between 13 countries to enhance combined interoperability between the U.S. military and France’s Combined Joint Task Force Headquarters in French Polynesia, and allies and partners. The training advances partners’ abilities to address complex and future contingencies throughout the Indo-Pacific region.
“This exercise is an important opportunity for the U.S. to train alongside our Pacific neighbors, as well as advance the relationship between the U.S. and France in the region,” said Ralston. “The participating countries share common interests in ensuring a free and open Indo-Pacific.”
Marara 22 provides excellent opportunities for fostering professional and cultural exchanges that strengthen our partnership through shared learning and training.
“The Marara exercise is fully in line with the French strategy in the Indo-Pacific,” said Berbain. “This exercise will take place every two years in even years and aims to gather France’s Pacific partners to improve our mutual understanding of the HADR mission, learn how to plan and conduct an operation together, and to strengthen our partnerships in order to promote a free and open Indo-Pacific.”
With exercises such as Marara, face-to-face interactions with allies and partners across the Pacific region, are the foundation of bilateral relationships that improve the U.S. and multinational force’s ability to strengthen relationships and increase interoperability through shared experiences and tough, realistic training.
“We are stronger when we work together,” said Ralston. “When we work together like during this exercise over the next couple of weeks, it enhances our partnerships, our ability to communicate with one another, and allows us to work together to solve complex problems together.”
The exercise involves approximately 1,000 participants from 13 countries aimed to enhance combined interoperability through training, skills sharing, and cultural exchanges.