BETIO ISLAND, TARAWA ATOLL, KIRIBATI— Marines and Sailors with Task Force Koa Moana 17 and Military Sealift Command crewmembers of the USNS SACAGAWEA conducted two beach cleanups, June 14-16, 2017, on Betio Island.
The service members arranged for crewmembers of the USNS SACAGAWEA and cadets from the Merchant Marine Academy to assist in the beach cleanup activities on Tarawa battle sites, including sections of one of the original landing sites.
“We came to preserve our culture as Marines and strengthen our relationship with Kiribati residents,” said 1st Lt. W. Stone Holden, executive officer of Task Force KM 17. “Cleaning up these battle sites ensures that generations to come will have the chance to see them and shows that we care about the local community."
The cleanups yielded more than 50 30-gallon trash bags of garbage, to be disposed of properly by the Kiribati government.
“We did just a little bit of work, and it went a long way to show that we genuinely care,” said Cpl. Christy Barron, an ammunition technician with Combat Logistics Battalion 3, Combat Logistics Regiment 3, 3rd Marine Logistics Group, III Marine Expeditionary Force, currently deployed to Koa Moana 17. “The Kiribati residents saw that we worked our tails off and the looks on their faces show their appreciation.”