USCGC Frederick Hatch (WPC 1143) returned to Guam on March 13, 2023, following a two-week deployment to the Federated States of Micronesia and the Republic of Palau, strengthening partnerships with the local communities in both countries as part of the ongoing Operation Rematau.
During the patrol, the crew participated in cultural observances and a search and rescue case and shared training and support with partners and the Department of Defense in both countries.
To kick off the patrol, the crew took part in Yap Day, March 1, in the FSM. Yap Day is a legal holiday in Yap State, one of the four states of the FSM, held annually. It is a celebration of traditional Yapese culture. Common activities held during this time include competitions and traditional dances.
“Our crew experienced their first visit to Yap, FSM at a perfect time as it aligned with the island’s first Yap Day Cultural Celebration since COVID,” said Lt. Patrick Dreiss, commanding officer of Frederick Hatch. “Making up most of the non-locals in attendance, the crew was warmly received and given several opportunities to participate in the festivities. The crew really enjoyed the experience of learning about the traditional Yapese culture, and we thank everyone who hosted us.”
On the evening of March 3, responders in Palau received notification of an overdue 25-foot vessel with a four-person medical team aboard in Angaur State. Having departed Yap for Palau, the Frederick Hatch crew worked with the Palauan Maritime Police, Angaur State Rangers, and the Sea Dragon aviation unit to search. The following day, the missing mariners were found safe about 30 nautical miles southwest of Angaur.
“It was rewarding to conduct a successful search and rescue case working with multiple Palauan partners, rescuing a local medical team well-known for providing care to the outer islands,” said Dreiss. “The whole search team’s efforts were well received on the island and generated interest in further SAR training and collaboration.”
The team conducted shipboard training with Palau Maritime Police aboard PSS H.I. Remeliik II, Palau’s newest patrol boat from Australia. Partnering with the Australian Pacific Maritime Security Program personnel in Palau, Frederick Hatch’s On-Board Training Team provided crucial damage control training to the Palauan crew, including firehose handling, repair party kits, damage control plotting, command and control simulation, and fire drills.
The team also transported medical and hazardous materials that were difficult to ship commercially promptly for U.S. Marine Corps and Civic Action Teams stationed in Palau and construction equipment for U.S. Navy Seabee Detachment in Yap.
The Compact of Free Association is an international agreement establishing and governing the relationships of free association between the United States and the three Pacific Island sovereign states of the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of Palau, and the Republic of the Marshall Islands.
As with every patrol, the crew took the opportunity to work on qualifications and sharpen skills. They held a gunnery exercise and pyrotechnics shoot for crew proficiency, conducted shipboard medical training with the embarked U.S. Navy corpsman from Naval Hospital Guam, and did operational training at night for the cutter small boat coxswains and shipboard boat deck captains.
Operation Rematau is how U.S. Coast Guard Forces Micronesia/Sector Guam supports the overarching Coast Guard endeavor Operation Blue Pacific to promote security, safety, sovereignty, and economic prosperity in Oceania. Rematau means people of the deep sea. It recognizes the wisdom of the Pacific Island Forum leaders in that securing the future requires long-term vision and a carefully considered regional strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent. Op Rematau reinforces U.S. commitment to working together to advance Pacific regionalism based on the Blue Pacific narrative. This action supports U.S. national security objectives, bolstering regional maritime governance and security.