Marines make Rota friends during Mangkhut relief effort
Col. Robert Brodie and Rota Mayor Efraim Atalig
After completing a lot of hard work helping Rota start recovering from the blows of Typhoon Mangkhut, the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit got together with their new island friends for a wreath-laying ceremony.
“As we join here today at this memorial, I am not only thankful for Rota's quick recovery but for the brave men that have given their lives in the name of freedom. I salute them and you all - Semper Fidelis,” said Marine Corps Col. Robert Brodie, commanding officer of the marines. The ceremony was at the Corporal Joe Junior G. Charfauros Veterans Memorial Park in Rota. While groups of local police officers, marines, and sailors stood at attention, Rota mayor Efraim Atalig hosted the gathering as participants shared mutual appreciation for the positive relationships developed during recent typhoon recovery operations. The brief observance marked the conclusion of 31st MEU and Amphibious Squadron 11 relief efforts during support to federal agencies and local communities in the wake of Typhoon Mangkhut, which swept through the island chain of Guam and the CNMI on Sept. 10. From Sept. 9 to 14, the 31st MEU and PHIBRON 11, embarked aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp and dock landing ship USS Ashland, provided crucial air support including assistance to civil authorities. Since Sept. 11, MV-22B Osprey tiltrotor aircraft and CH-53E Super Stallion helicopters with Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 262 (Reinforced), and MH-60S Seahawk helicopters with Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 25 completed 63 sorties that facilitated over 550 personnel transfers and delivery of around 29,465 lbs. of cargo including drinking water in support of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and local authorities, throughout Guam and the CNMI. “Our sailors and marines came here September 9th ready to help the people of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands," said McGovern. “Plain and simple, USS Wasp and USS Ashland did an exceptional job maneuvering off shore, and the flight deck crews and pilots went beyond the call to get aircraft loaded with food, supplies and water to those in need. The whole team did a fantastic job."