Kolonia, Pohnpei: February 14, 2024 – The U.S. Embassy Kolonia’s Senior Defense Official/Defense Attache’, CDR Jason Neal, USN, along with Assistant Defense Attache’, Mr. Kyle Papish, and Lt(jg) Kevin Reed, Officer in Charge of the U.S. Navy Seabees detachment, recently paid a visit to Governor Stevenson A. Joseph to discuss ongoing and future collaborative efforts between the U.S. Department of Defense and Pohnpei State.

The visit commenced with warm welcomes and congratulations extended to Governor Joseph, where Mr. Papish introduced CDR Neal as the Senior Defense Official overseeing all U.S. Department of Defense activities in the Federated States of Micronesia. CDR Neal informed Governor Joseph that his purview includes all matters related to the U.S. Department of Defense within the Federated States of Micronesia.

One highlight of the discussion was the introduction of Lt(jg) Kevin Reed, who heads the U.S. Navy Seabees detachment currently engaged in a crucial project in Sapwalap. Governor Joseph expressed his gratitude to the U.S. Embassy, especially the Seabees, for their swift response to Pohnpei State’s request for assistance following a recent emergency declaration.

Lt(jg) Reed elaborated on the ongoing project, highlighting the collaboration with the Department of Education, with a focus on PICS High School. The Seabee team is actively involved in addressing water infrastructure needs to support local schools.

Governor Joseph also expressed appreciation for the U.S. Coast Guard Fast Cutter Oliver Henry’s support in transporting essential supplies, including food and reverse osmosis units, to the remote islands of Kapingamarangi and Nukuoro.

Mr. Papish shared additional initiatives, including the upcoming return of Task Force Koa Moana, comprising U.S. Marines, to provide further assistance. He emphasized the importance of the annual Joint Committee Meeting (JCM), where a comprehensive review of ongoing and proposed Department of Defense activities is presented.

Furthermore, Mr. Papish reminded Governor Joseph of educational opportunities for students, such as admission to the U.S. Coast Guard Academy and the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy. He introduced the Micronesian Youth Leadership Academy (MYLA), a pilot program aimed at mentoring high school students in discipline, service, and enhancing ASVAB scores.

In conclusion, CDR Neal shared insights into discussions surrounding the return of Civic Action Teams and welcomed input and feedback from the Governor and leadership on this matter.

The visit underscored the strong partnership between the U.S. Department of Defense and Pohnpei State, reaffirming the commitment to collaborative efforts for the well-being and prosperity of the region.


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