TONGATAPU ISLAND, Tonga — Marines and sailors with Task Force Koa Moana 17 participated in an opening ceremony for Exercise TAFAKULA July 17 in Tongatapu Island, Tonga.
The ceremony marks the start of two weeks of infantry and law enforcement training between U.S. Marines and sailors, Tonga’s His Majesty’s Armed Forces, French soldiers and the New Zealand Defense Force.
“Welcome, everyone, to the kingdom of Tonga,” said Lt. Col. Lord Ve’ehala, chief of joint operations, His Majesty’s Armed Forces. We thank everyone for coming to take part in Exercise TAFAKULA.”
Planned events for the first week of the exercise include integrating the various forces into multinational companies. Training includes weapon ranges, martial arts training, combat lifesaving training, physical training, and sports. The training culminates with a joint exercise the following week.
“It’s impressive to see this many different forces come together to train,” said Gunnery Sgt. Michael Weaver, staff non-commissioned officer in charge of Task Force Koa Moana 17. “The opening ceremony set a good tone, and we’re looking forward to seeing how the exercise unfolds.”