United States military personnel during a military exercise at Palau International Airport (PIA) in April 2019. File Photo

US soldiers demonstrating how to protect an airfield at the Palau International Airport on April 13. (Rhealyn C. Pojas)

United States Ambassador to Palau Amy Hyatt told the media in a press conference that the current military exercise with the local police in Palau is a demonstration of the US’ commitment to the country’s defense and security under the Compact of Free Association (COFA) agreement.

Hyatt, who was at the Palau International Airport to welcome the around 200 US army who arrived in the country on Saturday, April 13, said that the US is grateful to the government of Palau for allowing them to have the exercise here.

Palau’s State Minister Faustina Rehuher-Marugg also said that this is a cooperation that will continue “forever” between the two countries.

The US Air ForceC-130 and C-17 aircrafts landed at Palau’s only international airport on Saturday where US soldiers immediately conducted a demonstration of how to secure an airfield with the local police. It was just the first of the series of exercises to be conducted on island.

US Army Public Affairs Plans Officer Kelly Haux, in an interview, said that the exercise is part of Pacific Pathways, a series of security cooperation exercises in various countries.

The unit started off the pathway from Thailand, Philippines, and now in Palau.

Haux said that the Pacific Pathway is not just limited to the military exercises but it also engages in humanitarian assistance and disaster risk response trainings.

US troops will also embark on a community and animal health outreach activities in Koror, Peleliu, and Angaur throughout the duration of their stay from April 13 to 19. (By Rhealyn C. Pojas)