By Lance Cpl. Gadiel Zaragoza
Koror-- - U.S. Marines and sailors with Task Force Koa Moana 22, I Marine Expeditionary Force, continued improvements on the Joint Range Complex in Ngchesar, Palau from June 27 to July 15. The Joint Range Complex is a firing range where U.S. military and Palauan law enforcement can conduct firearms training to increase their readiness and skills necessary within their field.
The range complex consists of a 250 feet long, 135 feet wide shooting range and a single building being used as a range house. This year, the task force completed the second phase of the range complex project, designed to update the complex and to further relationships with the local law enforcement agencies. "My team and I worked off the progress made by Koa Moana 21 by updating the Joint Range Complex to increase its longevity," said 1st. Lt. Chance Hogan, the engineer officer in charge with TFKM 22. “We gave it a solid footing to prevent further erosion and continue joint operations with local law enforcement utilizing this range.” One of the updates completed on the building was adding an overhang on the front and back faces to protect it from possible weather damage. Inside the building, the Marines re-wired different electrical components, creating plastic insulin to improve durability, and installed new lights on all sides of the building.
The Marines improved the range surface by establishing a stable, compacted gravel range. These updates to the complex will allow Department of Defense personnel and local Palauan law enforcement to shoot effectively without being disrupted by the clay. Marines with TFKM 22 began the groundwork for future improvements on the JRC, but the final version is not yet complete. The building was analyzed for future solar panel installation, ventilation, plumbing, and overall expansion of the complex.
“It will likely be done in a few years as they have the opportunity to expand on the area,” said Gunnery Sgt. Monica Knight, the utility chief with TFKM 22. “This year we finished up the second phase by making improvements to the existing structure and range. There are discussions on future plans to add a building and continue expansion to the JRC.” U.S. interaction with partner nations and states builds upon shared knowledge and best practices, from which we can together develop and enhance our mutual tactics, techniques, and procedures to build readiness and capability ahead of real-world crises. Marines and sailors from Task Force Koa Moana 22 are in Palau from June to August 2022. Named "Koa Moana" after a Hawaiian/Polynesian phrase meaning "ocean warrior," the task force is designed to strengthen and reinforce relationships between the U.S. and partner nations in the Indo-Pacific region and enhance interoperability with local security establishments in support of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command strategic and operational objectives. (USMC)