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Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center

With Support From Center for Pacific Islands Studies, University of Hawai‘i

RMI President Attends Kwajalein Dining Facility Opening
Ceremony highlight close relationship with United States

MAJURO, Marshall Islands (Yokwe, Jan. 18, 2013) – A Marshall Islands presidential delegation attended the dedication ceremony of the Captain Louis Zamperini Dining Facility hosted by the United States Army Garrison-Kwajalein Atoll (USAG-KA) on January 16. Republic of the Marshall Islands' President Christopher J. Loeak joined Commanding General Richard P. Formica and Command Sgt. Maj. Larry S. Turner, from USASMDC/ARSTRAT headquarters, in unveiling the plaque and mural in honor of the former Olympian and WWII bombadier who was imprisoned on Kwajalein.

RMI Foreign Affairs Minister Phillip Muller, on behalf of the President, stated, "It is people like the man we honor today, Mr. Louis Zamperini, who gives us hope to move on when things get tough."

"We come together today to dedicate this facility but we have a greater purpose: that of dedicating ourselves to the work ahead of us and to bring to light the unsung heroes whose courage and contributions to world peace were never recognized, including Marshallese."

"The United States Army Garrison and the Reagan Test Site is essential part of the Compact between our two nations. The RMI is proud to be a partner in this mutual defense cooperation and of this on-going security and deterrent efforts," said Muller, reported the Office of the President.

First Lady Lieom A. Loeak, RMI Minister-in-Assistance to the President Tony de Brum, Minister Muller, and Chief Secretary Casten Nemra accompanied the President from Majuro, along with US Ambassador Thomas Armbruster.

A Marshallese contingent from Kwajalein Atoll, led by Iroij Senator Michael Kabua, traditional and elected leaders attended the event, addition to officers of the U.S. Army Garrison Kwajalein Atoll, under Commander Colonel Shannon Boehm.

The U.S. Embassy Majuro website's highlight of the event, noted that President Loeak and RMI leaders held talks with the Ambassador and General Formica.

It added that "the Army Garrison on Kwajalein employs some 900 Marshallese who contribute to every facet of the bases' operations and who are integral to the character of the base."

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