Courtesy Story, Commander, Logistics Group Western Pacific
YAP, Federated States of Micronesia – Seabees supporting Pacific Partnership 2018 (PP18) completed a series of engineering projects during the mission stop in Yap, Federated States of Micronesia, March 21-31.
Twenty-eight Seabees, from Amphibious Construction Battalion 1 in Coronado, Calif., worked alongside the community at six construction projects spread throughout the island.
First, at Yap Memorial Hospital, PP18 Seabees and volunteers built three new roofs over medical storage containers, installed an interior wall with a lockable door inside one container, and built a six-foot addition to the oxygen storage building.
Simultaneously, Gilman Elementary School received a fresh coat of paint on the exterior walls, various doors and screen windows were repaired or replaced, and the school’s water storage tank had plumbing repair and a spigot installation. At the nearby Gilman Early Childhood Center, PP18 Seabees and volunteers painted the entire exterior of the school building and the roof.
Then, at the Gaanelay Elementary School, two buildings received a fresh coat of paint, and various doors were repaired or replaced. Dalipebinaw Elementary School also got two buildings painted and brackets were replaced on the second story’s water drainage PVC pipe.
Fanif Elementary School had suffered eroded flooring and doors due to adverse weather conditions, and PP18 participants worked to prevent further damage as well as provided a fresh coat of paint to the building’s exterior. Finally, Tomilang Elementary School received cosmetic improvements in the form of fresh paint and repairs to two stairwell doors.
Joining the Seabees every day were volunteers from the ship, lending a hand to painting and minor carpentry work. The community also joined the PP18 participants, with more than 40 young volunteers from the schools showing up in force to paint over the course of the projects.
Lt. j.g. Kelvin Edmonds, officer in charge of the ACB 1 engineering element supporting PP18, praised the efforts of his team.
“Despite many days of torrential rain and heavy wind conditions and a lot of unforeseeable situations, our guys overcame these setbacks by being creative…working in spots where the rain wasn’t going to be a factor, and just working a lot of long hours while maintaining communication and teamwork. With construction in general, there’s going to be some last-minute changes and things we didn’t anticipate back when we started the site survey in September of last year – things like the texture of the bricks soaking up more paint than we thought.”
Edmonds noted the scope of the work was challenging yet rewarding.
“We definitely took on an ambitious workload here in Yap – six different schools and major projects at the hospital. I’m very honored to work with my guys, and I’m proud to be their leader,” he said. “My guys were very touched with the interactions with local schoolchildren and all the host nation volunteers that came out with us – that really inspired us to work and morale was never an issue. We were happy to be working and helping out the community.”
Deputy Mission Commander of PP18, Royal Navy Capt. Peter Olive, echoed Edmond’s words during a visit to the hospital site “I’m very appreciative of all the effort they put in. It’s not lost on me that they’re the first folks out in the morning and the last folks to come back to the ship in the evening. When I talk to the people of the schools being transformed or the hospital, this work is changing their lives,” he said.
Pacific Partnership, now in its 13th iteration, is the largest annual multinational humanitarian assistance/disaster relief preparedness mission conducted in the Indo-Pacific. The mission’s objective is to enhance regional coordination in areas such as medical readiness and preparedness for man-made and natural disasters.
Pacific Partnership 2018 consists of more than 800 U.S. military personnel stationed worldwide, working side-by-side with host nation counterparts to be better prepared for potential humanitarian aid and disaster response situations.