An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means youโ€™ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Home : Media : News : News Article View
NEWS | Oct. 3, 2023

Koa Moana 23 Concludes in Oceania

U.S. Indo-Pacific Commdand

U.S. Marines and Sailors with I Marine Expeditionary Force concluded Task Force Koa Moana 23 in the Indo-Pacific region on Sept. 30, 2023. The task force was task-organized into multiple detachments with expertise in providing engineering, medical, maritime law enforcement, and explosive ordnance disposal capabilities.
Named Koa Moana, a Hawaiian phrase meaning “ocean warrior,” the task force is designed to strengthen relationships between the U.S. and partner nations in Oceania.
“Koa Moana is the Marine Corps’ attempt to have a larger outreach in the Indo-Pacific,” said 2nd Lt. Ryan Degnan, a native of Monroe, New York and a ground supply officer with the task force. “We are going to islands we haven’t really been to before or haven’t had a large presence in recent years. Micronesia is a good example of that. It’s all about community relations; getting with the communities and helping them out.”
According to Degnan, community relations is what differentiates the United States from its adversaries.
“We like to get personal and make friends with countries,” said Degnan. “If we have to come here in the future, we already know business owners and we have these pre-established relationships that we can use to our advantage.”
This year’s iteration deployed to six locations: Papua New Guinea, Republic of Palau, and the four states of the Federated States of Micronesia. Additionally, Koa Moana had three episodic locations: Guam, Kiribati, and Solomon Islands, which focused on monument clean ups.
“We accomplished more than 100 Operations, Activities, and Investments (OAI),” said Degnan. “We had multiple projects; the big ones were hospital repairs in Kosrae and Chuuk. In Kosrae, the Marines basically rebuilt the whole hospital. They were able to work with the U.S. Department of the Interior to get funding and we supplied the labor.”
While many OAIs were created during the task force’s pre-deployment site surveys, numerous projects were established while deployed.
“We discovered many projects on site,” said Degnan. “Many came from just talking with the community and building those relationships. Some were planned beforehand, but a good amount was created here when we talked to the right people and discovered things we didn’t even realize were possible to do.”
Over the three-month deployment, Marines and Sailors in Papua New Guinea worked on numerous renovation projects including a Papua New Guinea Defense Force shooting range, Port Moresby Nature Park, and PNGDF Air Transport Wing. In FSM, infrastructural projects included the Dr. Arthur P. Sigrah Memorial Hospital in Kosrae, Chuuk High School, Tomil Municipal Center on Yap and a Pohnpei shoot range. In Palau, projects included repairs to the Joint Range Complex and the flagpole at the president’s office as well as dental work for elementary school students.
According to Degnan, many of the Marines were performing in tasks outside of their occupational specialties.
“We kind of just had to make do with what we had and everyone was willing to learn new skills,” said Degnan. “It’s incredible how well these Marines performed out here. There are not too many engineers in our battalion; we have Motor-T, maintenance and supply and yet they were going out there and putting in work and long hours. They went above and beyond in all means. They were full speed the whole time. Just looking for each and every opportunity.”
Beyond labor-intensive projects, the task force also participated in numerous community relations activities including blood registration drives, mess nights, softball games and recruiting events.
“Building relationships all across the world is great, but maintaining those relationships is even more important,” said Sgt. Xavier Bridges, a native of Kirbyville, Texas and the Task Force Koa Moana 23 Palau detachment platoon sergeant. “That is something we’ve been able to do with Palau and the other islands. They love us out here and they asked us to stay, so I think that says a lot about us.”
For nearly a decade, Task Force Koa Moana has demonstrated U.S. commitment to the region and a shared vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific.
“Overall, I would say Koa Moana was really successful,” said Bridges. “It seems like every island really enjoyed having the Marines there to work on projects and help out in the community.”


Like Us
Follow Us



โ€˜Priority is an Understatementโ€™: Guam Governor attends National Guard Cybersecurity Summit
Federal, military, local government, and civilian stakeholders participate in the 2024 Central Pacific Cybersecurity Summit at the University of Guam, Nov. 6, 2023. Hosted by the Guam National Guard, the summit aimed to enhance local and national security by integrating cyber defense to deter adversaries and improve cyber resiliency.
Nov. 27, 2023 - Over 100 cybersecurity stakeholders gathered at the University of Guam for the 2024 Central Pacific Cybersecurity Summit, hosted by the Guam National Guard from Nov. 6-7...

Readout of Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Lisa Franchettiโ€™s Meeting with Republic of Korea Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Yang Yong-mo
BUSAN, Republic of Korea (Nov. 24, 2023) - Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Lisa Franchetti and Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy James Honea meet with Republic of Korea Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Yang Yong-mo aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) while the ship is in Busan, Republic of Korea for a port visit, Nov. 24. Franchetti and Honea visited Vinson and other 7th Fleet commands to engage with Sailors and Navy leadership to highlight Franchetti's priority of strengthening the Navy team. (U.S. Navy photo by Chief Mass Communication Specialist Amanda R. Gray)
Nov. 27, 2023 - Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Lisa Franchetti met Republic of Korea Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Yang Yong-mo at Busan Naval Base in Busan, Republic of Korea, today...

U.S. Navy Destroyer Conducts Freedom of Navigation Operation in the South China Sea
231125-N-EE352-1002 SOUTH CHINA SEA (Nov. 25, 2023) โ€“ The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Grace Hopper (DDG 70) conducts routine underway operations. Hopper is forward-deployed to the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations in support of a free and open Indo-Pacific. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Leon Vonguyen)
Nov. 25, 2023 - On November 25, USS Hopperย  (DDG 70) asserted navigational rights and freedoms in the South China Sea near the Paracel Islands, consistent with international law. At the conclusion of the operation, USS Hopper (DDG 70) exited...

USINDOPACOM Statement on DPRK Launch
Nov. 22, 2023 - We are aware of the DPRKโ€™s Nov. 21 launch of a space launch vehicle (SLV) and Nov. 22 Short Range Ballistic Missile (SRBM) launch and are consulting closely with the Republic of Korea (ROK) and Japan, as well as other...

Readout of Assistant Secretary of Defense Ely Ratner's Calls With Republic of Korea and Japan
Nov. 22, 2023 - U.S. Assistant Secretary of Defense for Indo-Pacific Security Affairs Ely Ratner spoke today in separate calls with Republic of Korea (ROK) Deputy Minister for National Defense Policy Heo Taekeun and with Japan...