I want to say thank you to the people of Saipan for the “Hafa Adai” spirit you have shown the Marines while supporting Typhoon Souledor recovery efforts. We are thankful beyond words for how welcoming everyone has been. The Marines are truly honored for the opportunity to be a small part of the recovery effort.
It is immediately apparent just how important family is to the people of Saipan. We are so honored that you extended these warm regards to the Marines. Our Marines have spent several weeks immersed in the community distributing water from Koblerville Fire Station, Garapan Fishing Base, San Roque Fire Station, and Kagman Fire Station. We have really enjoyed getting to know the people who came by for water and are very thankful for all of the Chamorro hospitality you have shown us! We were honored to work side by side with those clearing debris from Marianas High School, Hopwood Junior High School, Garapan Elementary School, William Reyes Elementary School, Koblerville Elementary and Middle School and Saipan Southern High School. We have been impressed by the resiliency of the community and humbled by their generosity and kindness.
The USS Ashland has departed with the Marines and sailors from the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit aboard. As we continue on our deployment, with our mission on Saipan accomplished, we depart with fond memories of our Saipan family, and several pounds heavier from all the food you have given us!
Thank you all and God bless!
Lt. Col. Eric Malinowski, USMC
Combat Logistics Battalion-31
31st Marine Expeditionary Unit
Camp Hansen, Okinawa, Japan