Maintenance window scheduled to begin at February 14th 2200 est. until 0400 est. February 15th


Forgot Password?

    Defense Visual Information Distribution Service Logo

    Koa Moana Marines Host Mess Night in PNG

    KM23: PNG Mess Night

    Photo By Cpl. Ricardo Ramirez | U.S. Marines and Sailors with Task Force Koa Moana 23 pose for a photograph on the...... read more read more



    Story by Staff Sgt. Courtney White 

    1st Marine Logistics Group

    U.S. Marines and Sailors with Task Force Koa Moana 23 gathered with Papua New Guinea Defense Force and Australian Defense Force soldiers for a U.S. Marine Corps Field Mess Night at the Air Transport Wing in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, Aug. 25, 2023.

    A field mess night, or “Warrior Night”, celebrates the customs and traditions of Marine Corps history while honoring Marines from years past.

    “The purpose of a mess night is to raise morale and have some good esprit de corps,” said Gunnery Sgt. Joel Castillo, a native of Los Angeles and the Task Force Koa Moana 23 - Papua New Guinea detachment 1st sergeant. “It allows your senior leaders and your junior Marines to break bread together and come together as one.”

    According to Castillo, the main reason the Marines wanted to organize a mess night while deployed was to allow the host nation to witness Marine Corps traditions.

    “We are trying to strengthen ties,” said Castillo. “We wanted to make sure they get to see some of our history and get to know us a little better. We just want to be able to make that bond a little bit tighter.”

    Surpassed only by the Marine Corps’ birthday, a mess night is one of the Corps’ most celebrated traditions.

    “Many of these Marines have never been to a mess night, or a warrior night,” said Castillo. “I just hope this is a night for them to remember. It will be a life-lasting experience having your first mess night in Papua New Guinea and I’m pretty sure it’s something that hasn’t happened here before.”

    A warrior night, like a traditional mess night, includes dinner, toasts, and has “rules of the mess”. The rules of the mess are standards of etiquette that must be followed; when a member of the mess violates any such rule, fellow Marines may “charge” them with a violation that may result in “fines.” In lighthearted fun, Marines also typically fabricate false allegations to stir up trouble.

    “Mess night went really well,” said Sgt. Shane Stoltenberg, a native of Ravenna, Nebraska and a landing support specialist with the task force. “The best part was the finings. We all had good laughs. It was a good chance to take a break from work, unwind and give everyone a chance to experience our traditions.”

    According to Papua New Guinea Defense Force Lt. Dickson Hiwi, the PNGDF have formal gatherings similar to mess nights.

    “We have gatherings like this, but not exactly and not all the time,” said Hiwi, a military intelligence officer with the Air Transport Wing. “What amazed me was the culture of the Marines. They were doing all sorts of things that were very entertaining. It really lifted my spirit and I really enjoyed the night.”

    Task Force Koa Moana 23, composed of U.S. Marines and Sailors from I Marine Expeditionary Force, deployed to the Indo-Pacific to strengthen relationships with Pacific Island partners through bilateral and multilateral security cooperation and community engagements.

    “We really appreciate foreign militaries coming in for exercises and for different purposes,” said Hiwi. “I like to learn as much as possible, including their culture and how they conduct business. It is different from how we do it here, so observing other militaries helps us to incorporate the things that we need to do. The U.S. is one of the biggest militaries in the world today, and for them to come, we are really happy to interact with them and not just at work.”


    Date Taken: 08.25.2023
    Date Posted: 08.30.2023 19:01
    Story ID: 452237
    Location: PORT MORESBY, PG

    Web Views: 76
    Downloads: 0