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NEWS | May 23, 2022

Fort Shafter Soldiers Participate in Marara 22

By Master Sgt. Shelia Cooper

HAUHINE, French Polynesia - Soldiers from the Headquarters and Headquarters and Charlie Company, 100th Battalion, 442nd Infantry Regiment, Fort Shafter, Hawaii participated in Marara 22 from May 7 – 20, 2022.

As part of the U.S. Army Pacific and U.S. Army Indo-Pacific Command’s commitment to its partners and Allies, Marara 22 is a multinational training exercise which enhances combined interoperability between the U.S. military and France’s Combined Joint Task Force Headquarters in French Polynesia. The training advances partners’ abilities to address complex and future contingencies throughout the Indo-Pacific. This is the first iteration of Exercise Marara 22 at the multinational level, which included 13 countries.

Exercise Marara 22’s goal is to enhance civil and military coordination for disaster preparedness and relief, humanitarian assistance, evacuation operations and development efforts, while also fostering interoperability and mutual knowledge.

“This exercise is important because it provides us insight into how our French counterparts operate,” said 2nd Lt. Steven Riley, platoon leader for C Company, 100th Bn. “Furthermore, it exposes all nations involved to different types of challenges that come with executing an exercise like this such as language barriers, cultural differences, and operational planning. What is vital is being able to come together as one team to successfully accomplish the mission. Exercises like this strengthen the bonds between all militaries involved.”

U.S. forces from the Army, Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps participated in numerous events during Marara 22 to build readiness and relationships through multinational mil-to-mil engagements and tough, realistic training spread across numerous locations.

“During the scenario-based exercise, my team conducted reconnaissance missions, and provided security,” said Riley. “We were especially engaged in providing humanitarian aid to the population of Huahine.”

Exercise Marara 22 highlights the U.S. commitment to our Indo-Pacific allies and partners and reinforces incentives for multilateral cooperation. The exercise aims to maintain and deepen cooperation in the context of a multinational disaster relief operation, planned and conducted by Armed Forces in French Polynesia, in its permanent area of responsibility.

“We all share commonalities as being a part of an Army, and we share even more as being a Polynesia neighbor,” said Joshua J. Akiona, HHC, 100th Bn. “Marara 22 emphasizes the importance of cooperation among all of our peers in order to provide aid to those in need within the Pacific and abroad.”

During the exercise, U.S. and French soldiers trained on scenario-based situations such as tactical combat casualty care, tactical control points, and search and rescue missions.

“Our team integrated with the French Army as security and manpower during the scenario based exercises,” said Akiona.

Promoting and enabling interoperability by establishing irreplaceable relationships between U.S. forces and French Polynesia is a vital and direct effort in support of regional stability.

“Some of the events my team participated in include a foot march up Marau Mountain, a water obstacle course, and combatives,” said Riley. “Collectively, the team enjoyed the march up Marau Mountain the most. It was quite the challenging route with steep inclines but the views were breath taking. The opportunity to do it with our French counterparts only added to the experience.”

This exercise provides the ability to establish bonds throughout the Indo-Pacific area through mutual trust and support in the effort of regional stability.

“The bonding experience between the French/French Polynesian soldiers and the United States was eye opening for both sides,” said Riley. “We could relate to each other in our various experiences that come with being in the military. Exchanging food and learning from each other’s culture/language allowed us to bond to a great extent.”

Marara 22 affirms the U.S. Army’s role to achieve preparedness, build stronger partnerships with allies and partners and promote a networked and enhanced security architecture in the Indo-Pacific region. USARPAC continues to use its Reserve forces to execute sophisticated interoperability and capacity building activities throughout the Pacific region.

Marara 22 is slated to occur on even number years.

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