MAJURO, MARSHALL ISLANDS –
More than 300 residents of the Marshall Islands attended a career fair and U.S. Pacific Fleet Band concert hosted by Pacific Partnership 2024-1 here Nov. 4, 2023.
The career fair included U.S. military careers as well as local career opportunities as part of the 19th iteration of the multinational humanitarian assistance and disaster relief mission, which is scheduled to bring the hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) to four countries in the Pacific this year.
“This career festival really highlights a lot of opportunities for Marshallese residents,” said Capt. Brian Quin, mission commander of Pacific Partnership 2024-1. “Working together with our host nations to both increase capabilities and provide access to economic opportunities means that Pacific Partnership will have a lasting impact on the people of the Marshall Islands and across the region.”
The career fair focused on medical and military careers. U.S. Navy doctors and hospital Corpsman, who serve medical roles in the U.S. Navy, spoke with residents about Navy healthcare jobs and discussed preventative health measures.
“It’s good for our community,” said Tatiana Shoniber, a local resident and a member of the Republic of the Marshall Islands Paddling Federation. “I met up with the physical therapist and it was great to get advice on what I should do.”
As part of the Compact of Free Association, residents of the Marshall Islands can join the U.S. Armed Forces, allowing for an accelerated path to U.S. citizenship as well as valuable skills and experience.
Following the career fair, members of the Pacific Fleet Band and the Royal Australian Navy Band hosted a concert alongside local musicians. The performance included covers of popular songs.
“It was so much fun!” said Shoniber. “We don’t have these kinds of bands here, so it’s really good to listen to these kinds of instruments.”
Sailors and Marshallese audience members danced together in front of the stage to songs such as the theme from ‘Ghost Busters.’
“Here, it’s like a party,” said Musician 3rd Class Aaron Wright, from Travers City, Michigan. “We go out in the audience and engage with the audience while we play. It’s like a rock concert.”
Sailors from Mercy also attended the concert, dancing and talking with people from Majuro about their experiences in the Navy.
“It’s been very fun,” said U.S. Navy Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Anneriz Bulanadi. “We’ve been learning about the Marshallese culture, and been doing some shopping at the night market and getting some local food.”
The Pacific Fleet Band provides musical support during host nation outreach events during Pacific Partnership.
“The audiences are very engaged with what we do,” said Wright. “We’ve been playing for mostly schools so far; the students have been really excited to have us play for them”
The Republic of the Marshall Islands is an independent country in the Pacific Ocean, north of the Equator and west of the International Date Line, consisting of approximately 48,000 people living on five islands and 29 coral atolls.
The Pacific Partnership mission team aboard USNS Mercy will make stops in the Republic of Marshall Islands, Solomon Islands, Palau, and the Federated States of Micronesia. Experts in the fields of engineering, medicine and disaster response will partner with each host to conduct civic-action projects, community health exchanges, medical symposiums, and disaster response training activities.
Pacific Partnership began in response to one of the world’s most catastrophic natural disasters, the December 2004 tsunami that devastated parts of Southeast Asia. The mission has evolved over the years from emphasis on direct care to an operation focused on enhancing partnerships through host nation subject matter expert and civil-military exchanges.