U.S. Delegation Participates In Peace Memorial Ceremony to Commemorate 75th Anniversary of Operation Hailstone in Chuuk, FSM

L-R: FSM Speaker Wesley Simina, U.S. Embassy Chargé d' Affaires Heather Coble, Assistant Secretary Douglas Domenech, Department of Interior and General Charles Brown, Commander Pacific Air Forces (COMPACAF) laying wreaths for the 75th Commemoration of Operation Hailstone.

On February 18, Chargé d’ Affaires Heather Coble led a high level U.S. Delegation to Chuuk State to mark the 75th Anniversary of Operation Hailstone.. Participating in the U.S. Delegation were: General Charles Brown, Commander Pacific Air Forces (COMPACAF), Assistant Secretary Douglas Domenech, Department of Interior, Director Alex Gray, National Security Council, Principal Deputy Mr. Chris Johnstone, South East Asia Indo-Pacific Security Affairs, Director Nik Pula, Department of Interior Insular Affairs, Director Nicholas Dean, Department of State East-Asia Pacific, Foreign Policy Advisor Mr. Brian Woo (COMPACAF), Lt. Col Ingrid Kaat, South Asia Oceania COMPACAF, Capt. Bryanna Appleby COMPACAF, SSgt Dexter Lopez (COMPACAF), Rear Admiral Kevin Lunday, U.S. Coast Guard District Fourteenth, Captain Christopher Chase, Captain H.E. Sholley, Joint Region Marianas, Captain Chuck Herberle, Joint Region Marianas, Consular/Economic Officer Mr. Anthony Alexander and Political/Military Specialist Lynn Pangelinan from the U.S. Embassy.

Also in attendance were FSM Speaker Wesley Simina, Secretary Lorin Robert Department of Foreign Affairs, FSM Government Officials, Speaker House of Senate Innocente Oneisom and members of the Chuuk State Government. General Charles Brown who currently serves as commander of Pacific Air Forces was the guest speaker at commemoration. In his remarks he stated “We remember the region’s instability during WWII & honor the legacy of the fallen by sharing a vision for the future…where by preserving their own sovereign choices, a small set of islands can have a big impact.”

Following the remarks, Chargé d’ Affaires Heather Coble & members of the U.S. and FSM delegations joined Chuuk State officials in placing memorial wreaths in the Chuuk Lagoon.

After the commemoration the U.S. Delegation visited the Chuuk State seaport and Chuuk Public Utility Corporation Power Plant.  General Manager, Kembo Mida briefed the delegation on the success of the power plant and ongoing challenges to Chuuk’s water supply during the current drought. The wastewater treatment plant was overhauled recently with funds provided through the Compact Infrastructure Funding. Mida also expressed the need to improve power and water services to communities.

On February 17, 1944 the U.S. Navy launched Operation Hailstone on Japanese forces harbored in Chuuk Lagoon. Over two days, 45 Japanese ships and over 270 aircraft were destroyed and thousands of Japanese servicemen died. Americans and Micronesians also died in the fighting. This commemoration serves as a peacekeeping to all nations.