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New Friends Play Games, Sing Songs in Honiara

01 September 2022

From Leslie Hull-Ryde, Commander, Logistics Group Western Pacific

SOLOMON ISLANDS – Students at the Koloale Early Childhood Center and Primary School took a short break from their classes, Aug. 25, 2022, to make new friends currently in Honiara for Pacific Partnership 2022 (PP22).

During a visit to the school, U.S. Navy personnel struck up conversations, played games and sang songs, right in the middle of the campus.

“It was refreshing to see a hillside of Solomon Islands children welcoming us,” said Lt. Steven Szelmeczki, a chaplain assigned to Pacific Partnership 2022.

“Their smiles and laughter bridged our cultures and united our hearts.”

He and Lt. Luslaida Barbosa, director of the U.S. Pacific Fleet Band, led the some of the younger students in “If you’re happy and you know it,” one of their favorites.

“The smiles I saw in these children truly solidified why we’re here,” she said.

Now in its 17th year, Pacific Partnership is the largest annual multinational humanitarian assistance and disaster relief preparedness mission conducted in the Indo-Pacific.

In Honiara, the Pacific Partnership 2022 team is comprised of representatives from Australia, Japan, and the United States. PP22 events are coordinated with the host nation and are planned based on the requirements and requests of Solomon Islands.

Engagements in Solomon Islands will include medical care and exchanges, engineering projects, discussions on humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, and community outreach events, including band concerts and sporting events.

“I can’t wait to bring the Pacific Fleet Band to Honiara so we can share the joy of music with the people of the Solomon Islands.”

The first public band concert takes place during the Pacific Partnership opening ceremony, Aug. 30, at 5 p.m., in Unity Square. In addition to the U.S. Pacific Fleet Band, local favorites, Unik 7 and Point of View, will perform with the PP22 musicians. The concert is free and open to the public.


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