More than a hundred US Marines, sailors begin humanitarian mission in Palau

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From left, a Palau Norwegian Peoples Aid member, U.S. Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal 1st Class Charles Brown, with EOD Mobile Unit 5, Detachment Marianas and U.S. Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Dent Hall, an EOD technician with Marine Wing Support Squadron 372, EOD 3, prepare shell fragments during EOD training at a demolition range, Babeldaop, Republic of Palau, Nov. 28. Task Force Koa Moana Marines and Sailors deployed to conduct multilateral engagements designed to strengthen and enhance relationships among the U.S. and partner nations in the Indo-Pacific and South Pacific regions. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Clare J. McIntire)

Task Force Koa Moana is set to begin its humanitarian mission in Palau on July 27.

Task Force Koa Moana brings more than a hundred U.S. Marines and U.S. Navy sailors to conduct multilateral engagements designed to strengthen and enhance relationships among the U.S. and partner nations in the Indo-Pacific and South Pacific regions.

Koa Moana’s mission this year is to repair the Peleliu airfield. 

Palau remains COVID-19 free and since early this month, local and US officials have been in talks to go over quarantine and other details of the operation.

With the more than one hundred U.S. Marines and sailors expected to arrive in Palau as part of the mission, the state legislature issued a resolution raising concerns over the safety of the community in light of the global pandemic.

Last week, Palau President Tommy E. Remengesau, Jr. met with US Ambassador John Hennessey-Niland in a joint leadership meeting with state officials.

During the meeting, the US Ambassador explained the COVID-19 prevention details worked out with Palau’s Ministry of Health and the local emergency committee.

“This group of a hundred — possibly over a hundred Marines and sailors, went into quarantine in California at Camp Pendelton early in June … June 6, if I recall correctly. They’ve been in quarantine and have been in isolation since then. When they went into quarantine, they were all tested. All came out negative. They were tested again … if I recall correctly June 26 or 27 approximately 72 hours before they boarded the ship..as the recommended protocol…and all of those tests are again negative,” he said.

The US Ambassador added that the United States is doing everything to ensure the safety and well being of the people of Palau.

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