USARPAC honors Army history throughout South Pacific region

| January 22, 2016 | 0 Comments
Gen. Vincent K. Brooks, commander, U.S. Army Pacific, passes traditionally dressed Papua New Guinean warrior dancers honoring his visit to Murray Barracks, Papua New Guinea, Jan. 13, 2016.

Gen. Vincent K. Brooks, commander, U.S. Army Pacific, passes traditionally dressed Papua New Guinean warrior dancers at Murray Barracks, Papua New Guinea, Jan. 13.

 

Story and photos by Master Sgt. Mark St. Clair
Defense Video & Imagery Distribution Service

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea – The Papua New Guinea Defence Force hosted Army Gen. Vincent K. Brooks, commander, U.S. Army-Pacific, Jan. 13.

Brooks made his first trip to PNG this week, following brief stops in American Samoa and the Solomon Islands.

During a large portion of the exchange with Brooks, PNGDF commander Brig. Gen. Gilbert Toropo and Defence Minister Fabian Pok, centered on ground forces history in the region.

Brooks began his visit by laying a wreath at the Commonwealth Cemetery of Bomana, where almost 4,000 Australian, New Guinean and British casualties of World War II are interred.

Gen. Vincent K. Brooks, commander, U.S. Army Pacific, meets with Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O’Neill in O’Neill’s office Jan. 13. In his first visit to PNG, Brooks and O’Neill discussed NCO training and development, PNG’s important role in the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation leader’s summit, which will be held in PNG capital Port Moresby in 2018, and the strengthening relationship between the two nations' armies.

Brooks meets with Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O’Neill in O’Neill’s office Jan. 13. In his first visit to PNG, Brooks and O’Neill discussed NCO training and development, PNG’s important role in the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation leader’s summit, which will be held in PNG capital Port Moresby in 2018, and the strengthening relationship between the two nations’ armies.

Australian Defence Force attaché Col. Dick Parker and PNGDF installations commander Col. Siale Diro welcomed Brooks and offered their expertise in a short tour.

“There’s a common thread: sacrifice,” Brooks said of the many monuments and cemeteries throughout the Pacific. “Particularly in Guadalcanal and Papua New Guinea,” he added, highlighting specifically the valorous sacrifices made during 1942-43.

After Bomana, the PNGDF then hosted Brooks and U.S. Ambassador Walter E. North (PNG, Salomon Islands and Vanuatu) at two of their barracks, Murray, where their defense department is headquartered, and Goldie River, where their soldiers are trained.

Though this was Brooks’ first visit to PNG, “our relationship with them is not a new one. We have a deep relationship.”

Photo by Master Sgt. Mark St. Clair, 25th Infantry Division Gen. Vincent K. Brooks, commander, U.S. Army Pacific, prepares to lay a wreath at the Bomana Commonwealth Cemetery, Papua New Guinea, Jan. 13, 2016, during a tour of Pacific nations highlighting ground forces history and accomplishments. Bomana houses nearly 4,000 Australian, New Guinean and British casualties.

Brooks  prepares to lay a wreath at the Bomana Commonwealth Cemetery, Papua New Guinea, Jan. 13, during a tour of Pacific nations highlighting ground forces history and accomplishments. Bomana has nearly 4,000 Australian, New Guinean and British casualties.

That relationship has helped the U.S. Army in the Pacific to the PNGDF with support ranging from medical capabilities to engineers to civil affairs, he said.

Before meeting with Toropo and Pok at Murray Barracks to discuss future partnership, particularly in the area of noncommissioned officer training, Brooks inspected the PNGDF and received a bagpipe and drum rendition of “Scotland the Brave” in honor of the U.S. delegation.

Brooks met and was “challenged” by spear-wielding natives in traditional garb. Giving the proper response in Tok Pisin, one of the official languages of PNG, Brooks was recognized and welcomed as a friend and ally.

Moving through rough and lush terrain to Goldie River, Brooks toured Warrior Wing, a training facility started in the 1990s by U.S. Special Forces and home to the PNGDF’s elite. He also toured Goldie River, which houses the PNG National War Museum.

Prior to arriving in PNG, Brooks visited and paid respects at American war memorials in American Samoa and the Salomon Island of Guadalcanal.

Prior to departing for Kathmandu, Nepal, and the next leg of his tour, Brooks met with PNG Prime Minister Peter O’Neill. Discussions included PNG’s preparations for the upcoming Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) leader’s summit and the strengthening relationship between the two nation’s armies.

Photo by Master Sgt. Mark St. Clair, 25th Infantry Division Traditionally dressed Papua New Guinean warrior dancers play drums during a visit by Gen. Vincent K. Brooks, commander, U.S. Army Pacific, to Murray Barracks, Papua New Guinea, Jan. 13, 2016.


Traditionally dressed Papua New Guinean warrior dancers welcome Brooks to Murray Barracks.

APEC will be held in the PNG capital Port Moresby in 2018.

(Editor’s note: St. Clair works with 25th Infantry Division Public Affairs.)

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Category: Deployed Forces, News

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