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Guam National Guard launches State Partnership with Palau

Senior Enlisted Advisor Tony Whitehead, from left, and U.S. Ambassador Joel Ehrendreich look on as Palau President Surangel Whipps Jr., Guam Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero and Col. Michael Cruz sign the state partnership declarationat the Ngarachamayong Cultural Center in Koror. Photo courtesy of GUNG

By Pacific Island Times News Staff

Koror-- Guam and Palau have signed a declaration formalizing a state partnership though the National Guard's program that supportsdefense security goals and "leverages whole-of-society relationships and capabilities to facilitate broader interagency and corollary engagements spanning military, government economic and social spheres."

Palau President Surangel Whipps Jr. said said the state partnership creates a lot of opportunities for Palauans and Guamanians to continue "to help each other in that Pacific Way."

"Caring for each other and helping each other build each other up. Most importantly, being prepared and keeping our Indo-Pacific free and open and ensuring that our values, our democratic values, are made strong," Whipps said during the historic ceremony at the Ngarachamayong Cultural Center in Koror.

Managed by the National Guard Bureau and executed with combatant commanders, the state partnership program develops enduring relationships, improves interoperability, and enhances the readiness of the U.S. and partner nations to meet emerging challenges together.

The program has been successfully building relations for 30 years and includes over 100 nations around the globe. This year, National Guard Bureau selected the Guam Guard to partner with Palau. 

Whipps signed the partnertship with Guam Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero and Col. Michael Cruz, adjutant general of the Guam National Guard.

“When we talk about commonalities between Guam and Palau, we voyaged as warriors and seafarers thousands of years ago,” said Leon Guerrero.

“Our ancestors braved the seas and storms with no computers or science at all, except the feel of the current and wind, the temperature of the water, and knowledge of the stars. We are innovative and resilient people who have weathered World Wars, colonization and struggles for political identity. This partnership is just one way we will continue fighting for and defending our freedom," she added.

Staff Sgt. Christina Adelbai, UH-72 Lakota helicopter mechanic for the Guam Guard’s aviation detachment, greeted the audience in native Palauan before reading the Declaration of Partnership in English.

“I just want to take a moment to say how proud I am of this partnership,” Adelbai said.  “To be a soldier in the Guam National Guard, standing here as a daughter of Palau, there’s a lot of pride.”

Witnessing the ceremony were Tony Whitehead, senior enlisted advisor to the Chief of National Guard Bureau, U.S. Ambassador Joel Ehrendreich, Palau Vice President J. Uduch S. Senior, and members of the Palau National Congress and Council of Chiefs.

Palau’s island of Peleliu was the site of a major battle during World War 2.

Although Palau has no military, the State Partnership Program allows for a whole-of-government approach. Opportunities for two-way exchanges in law enforcement and border security, cyber protection and resilience, medical and civil engineering community engagements, humanitarian assistance and disaster response and more, exist under the program.


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