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31st Marine Expeditionary Unit arrives in Timor-Leste to spread goodwill

14 Apr 2008 | Staff Sgt. Marc Ayalin

More than 100 Marines and sailors from the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit arrived in Timor-Leste (formerly East Timor) between April 12-14, to participate in a ten-day multiple site medical, dental and engineering civic assistance project and community relations event throughout the country.

The multiple site projects, which is scheduled for April 14-24, is expected to positively impact more than 3,000 Timor-Leste nationals. The combined military effort includes engineers, infantrymen and communications personnel from the 31st MEU along with 50 members of the Australian Defence Force’s 3rd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment, also known as “Old Faithful.”

According to the U.S. Ambassador to Timor Leste, Hans Klemm, who greeted the first wave of more than 50 Marines and sailors April 13, there is no better disciplined military force than the U.S. Marines to work with the Australian allies during this endeavor.

“I am filled with gratitude that you are here in a part of the world that really needs our help,” Klemm said during the welcoming speech.

According to Lt. Col. Stuart Lockhart, executive officer of the 31st MEU, the projects are scheduled to be completed in the cities of Bacau, Metinaro and Dili.  For Lockhart, the MEU’s participation is key in the success of Marine Forces Pacific’s Theater Security Cooperation goals in increasing stability in the South East Asia region.

“These projects will promote goodwill, strengthen relationships and advance regional stability here,” Lockhart said.

31st Marine Expeditionary Unit