WENO, CHUUK, Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) -- Members of U.S. Coast Guard Forces Micronesia/Sector Guam conducted a search and rescue exercise in Weno, Chuuk, FSM, from Feb. 20 to 23, 2023.
In attendance were 27 members from various agencies, including the Chuuk Department of Public Safety in Weno and Udot, the Chuuk Disaster Emergency Operations Center, the Chuuk Fire Division, and the Weno Municipal Police.
"After COVID, the Forces Micronesia team was eager to continue the great relationship we have with Chuuk state search and rescue partners," said Lt. Christine Igisomar, U.S. Coast Guard maritime advisor to the Compact of Free Association nations. "We are happy to be back in Chuuk state and admire our partners' intimate knowledge of their waters. We learned as much from them as we hope they learned from us."
The exercise began with a review of search patterns and simulated cases within the Chuuk lagoon. The following day, attendees participated in on-water search pattern training and drills. U.S. Coast Guard members received local knowledge from attendees, which will aid in future search planning, especially for overdue cases in Chuuk. The Coast Guard team also visited the Emergency Operations Center to understand better the capabilities and unique challenges associated with conducted search and rescue in Chuuk.
U.S. Coast Guard members also took part in an office call with the Honorable Alexander Narruhn, governor of Chuuk state. During the meetings, U.S. Coast Guard members expressed gratitude for the hospitality from and partnership with local maritime law enforcement teams. With continued training opportunities, the Service looks to enjoy a long-lasting partnership with Chuuk state and its search and rescue professionals.
"Continuing to build the capacity of our FSM partners, especially in search and rescue, remains a high priority," said Capt. Nick Simmons, commander of U.S. Coast Guard Forces Micronesia/Sector Guam. "We respect the deep connection of the FSM people with the ocean, and we hope that in the off chance something goes wrong at sea, our partners are equipped with the tools to effectively bring someone home. The U.S. Coast Guard team's partnership with Chuuk state is valuable to that continued effort."
U.S. Coast Guard Forces Micronesia/Sector Guam comprises nearly 300 personnel throughout the response, prevention, administrative, and logistics departments supporting the Joint Rescue Sub-Center, three fast response cutters, a small boat station, and a marine safety detachment in Saipan. The unit provides a significant portion of the U.S. Coast Guard's enduring regional presence serving the people of the Pacific by conducting our six major operational mission programs: maritime law enforcement, maritime response, maritime prevention, marine transportation system management, maritime security operations, and defense operations.