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    Koa Moana Marines and Sailors Host Community Field Meet in Chuuk

    KM23: Task Force Koa Moana 23 Marines Host Field Meet

    Photo By Cpl. Trent A. Henry | U.S. Marines and Sailors with Task Force Koa Moana 23 pose for a photograph with...... read more read more



    Story by Cpl. Trent A. Henry 

    1st Marine Logistics Group

    U.S. Marines and Sailors with Task Force Koa Moana 23 hosted a community field meet on Weno, Chuuk, Federated States of Micronesia, Sept. 15, 2023.

    The field meet was organized by the Marines and Sailors who have been executing and completing projects around the state of Chuuk to be able to introduce themselves to the community.

    “Through the entirety of the summer, Marines have been doing local improvements, repairing roads, repairing schools and I think it's really important that the Marines actually interact with the community so that they can put a face to all the projects that they've been doing and understand who they been helping and vice versa,” said Capt. Christian Lara, a native of Chino Hills, California and a combat engineer officer with Task Force Koa Moana 23. “So the community can see who has been helping them and essentially develop and deepen those relationships as that's one of the main missions of Koa Moana.”

    According to other Marines and members of the community, it was a great opportunity to spend time together and a way to strengthen their bond.

    “We're out here to build relations,” said Sgt. Caleb Cochenour, a native of Warren, Michigan and a landing support operations chief with the Task Force Koa Moana 23. “These people need to know that the United States is here and that we're here to defend them and we're here to support them in any way that we can.”

    COFA is the agreement which established the relationship between the Federated States of Micronesia and the United States. The COFA relationship between the U.S. and the FSM approved by the citizens of the FSM in 1983 and Legislation on the COFA was adopted by the U.S. Congress in 1986 and was signed into law on November 13, 1986.

    Under the terms of the agreement, the U.S. provides FSM with economic assistance, defense, and other services and benefits.

    “I think this is an awesome interaction and event that the Marines came up with,” said Jns Tither, a member of the community. “We haven't had this kind of interaction with outside people, rather than just ourselves, so seeing other new faces is remarkably awesome and enjoyable. I hope there is another event like this in the future.”

    “People always say that the United States is the world's police force. By being out here it's shown me that it's more than that,” said Cochenour. “There are people in the world, far across the Pacific Ocean that are turning to us, and they're looking for us for help and assistance whether that be military or humanitarian aid or fixing a roof on a school. You know they're looking to us for that help.”

    The community appreciates the presence of the Marines and praised the work they’ve been doing and the training they’ve been giving the community.

    “The training we got from you guys really helped our ARFF (Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting team), like giving us new ideas on how to train and physically train, just to improve things that we do as firefighters,” said Nanson Sonis, the chief of the Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting station of the Chuuk International Airport.

    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.

    "Even if we can go in and help them, we need to teach them how to help themselves,” said Cochenour. "That will just build that partnership and make it much stronger than it was before."



    Date Taken: 09.15.2023
    Date Posted: 09.29.2023 03:08
    Story ID: 454486
    Location: WENO, FM
    Hometown: CHINO HILLS, CA, US
    Hometown: WARREN, MI, US

    Web Views: 84
    Downloads: 0