Phillips Convenes First Micronesian Summit
Island Officers Meet Territorial Leaders to Evaluate Goals
by Judy Lee –
The first Micronesian Summit was recently held to discuss and analyze “what we have done right and what we have done wrong” since the first corps opened in 1985. Colonel Dennis L. Phillips, Western Territory chief secretary, and Colonel Bill D. Luttrell, secretary for personnel, represented the Territorial Commander in leading the summit.
“This is the first strategy and planning meeting held involving territorial headquarters leadership, Hawaiian and Pacific Islands divisional headquarters leadership, and representatives from Micronesia since the Army opened fire in Micronesia,” stated Lt. Colonel Chris Buchanan, divisional commander.
Buchanan said that the Micronesian representatives were critical to the discussions, and included Captain David Harmon from Guam, Captain Michael Eyres from Pohnpei, Captain Jonnette Mulch from the Rita Corps in The Marshall Islands, and Hemrina Haneric, Home League secretary.
Captains John and Lani Chamness, now corps officers of the Leeward Corps, gave valuable input, drawing on their four years experience of service at the Rita Corps in Majuro.
Captain Allie Niles, divisional secretary; Captain Erik Pontsler, divisional finance secretary; and Lieutenant Edward Hill, divisional youth and candidates’ secretary, joined Lt. Colonels Chris and Janice Buchanan as DHQ representatives.
The discussions began with a historic review of service in Micronesia. Summit participants then assessed the cost of ministry and followed with a brainstorming session on how more local support could be engendered. Because of the poor economic conditions, lack of local resources and industry, the isolation of the islands and relatively small populations, the Western Territory gives substantial support to the ongoing ministry.
Finally, there was a significant discussion concerning the need for local leadership development, the training of envoys and officers, and the deployment of officers from the mainland, not only to sustain, but advance the ministry of the Army.
“As the business world focuses on the Pacific Rim, significant changes and growth are predicted for these islands,” said Buchanan. “If we make the right decisions now, the Army will be prepared to meet the needs and become an integral part of that growth.”
The potential for nine new corps and outpost openings by the year 2000 was projected. The ministry began with one corps on the Majuro Atoll in the Marshall Islands, where there are now three corps. Expansion to Pohnpei in the Federated States of Micronesia and Guam occurred in 1992 and 1993, respectively.
In November 1996, permission was granted for the Rita Corps to plant a new outpost on the neighboring atoll of Jaluit. Efforts have also been made throughout 1996 to establish an outpost in Chuuk, Federated States of Micronesia.