Story by MCC Matthew White, 30th Naval Construction Regiment
CAMP KATUU, Palau – Camp Katuu is the home base for Civic Action Team (CAT), Palau, currently filled by Soldiers from the Army 84th Engineering Battalion, 561 Engineer Company, 130th Brigade, deployed from Hawaii. CAT Palau supports the Palauan population by performing large and small construction and repair projects for schools, hospitals, and private citizens throughout the country. The mission keeps CAT Palau busy so taking care of their home away from home sometimes gets put on the back-burner.
“We began bringing small teams of Seabees to Palau on six-month rotations to repair and rebuild old buildings on Camp Katuu so the CAT Palau members could focus on their mission of supporting the local Palauan population,” said Master Chief Constructionman Jamie White, 30th Naval Construction Regiment Camp Katuu camp czar.
Camp Katuu was built in the 1980s and houses the service members that make up CAT Palau. The camp has a vehicle maintenance shop, administration building, gym, small theater, and berthing for the deployed troops. After more than 30 years in the hot, humid climate of Palau, the infrastructure needed some attention.
“We’ve encountered a lot of rotten wood and termites in the buildings on camp that we’ve had to replace,” said Construction Electrician 1st Class Anthony Grow, Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 5 Detail Palau officer-in-charge.
The six-person team is motivated to improve the camp infrastructure and set up CAT Palau for success.
“Working in the heat and humidity really makes it difficult to get the jobs done but the team is doing a great job and getting projects done faster than planned,” Grow said.
Grow said his Seabees were able to rehabilitate the builder shop mezzanine, replacing 27 laminated joists and 1,500 square feet of wood, in a tenth of the time allotted at the beginning of the project.
The work the Seabees are doing to improve the camp is not unnoticed by the CAT Palau members.
“CAT Palau is really benefiting from the work the Seabees are doing rehabilitating Camp Katuu. We are able to concentrate solely on our mission of working with and helping the local Palauans and not having to use any of our limited time working on projects around camp that aren’t benefiting the locals,” said 1st Lt. Kevin Hadden, CAT Palau officer-in-charge.