Marines and sailors from Marine Corps Engineer Detachment - Palau continue to work on restoring a World War II runway to operating conditions on Peleliu, Republic of Palau Aug. 30, 2023. Even though the primary mission is runway restoration, Marines have made it a priority to assist with large community projects including: road rebuilding, assistance with garbage disposal sites and even building a volleyball court.
“The mission of the Heavy Equipment Platoon while attached to the Marine Corps Engineer Detachment - Palau is to clear and improve the 6000' airfield,” said Chief Warrant Officer 2 Michael Miracle, the Heavy Equipment Platoon commander. “By focusing our additional efforts on the 12.5 miles of road networks, waste management site and community projects, we aim to create a lasting impact on both the local population and their economy."
This not only assists the State of Peleliu with projects, but allows the Marines to see past the task of runway clearing and focus on all missions during this USINDOPACOM deployment.
“When our Marines have meaningful daily contact with our Palauan neighbors, they get to see an actual person that is directly benefiting from our mission out here, as it enhances our friends’ everyday live. This paints a bigger picture that is important for the Marines and sailors to see." 1st. Sgt Joseph Weinrich, the Senior Enlisted Advisor for MCED-P 23.2
It would be easy to stay focused on just runway clearing operations, but working outside the scope of the mission set does more for both the Marines and residents of the Island of Peleliu.
“We have a shared history between the Marine Corps and the people of Peleliu,” said Capt. Joshua Rothfeld, commanding officer of MCED-P 23.2. “We, the United States, have maintained a presence throughout the country of Palau for many years. Being able to share in the history and build our relationships with them through various community outreach opportunities strengthens our bonds and honors our history.”
Marines and Sailors have rotationally served on the island for over a year. With every new Peleliu project MCED-P tackles, the relationship with the local community and Palau as a whole continues to grow.
“Building and maintaining a positive and strong community relationship is of utmost importance,” said Miracle. “By fostering a great rapport, we enable the Marine Corps and other services to continue working here for years to come, ensuring ongoing support and assistance to the people of Peleliu.”