Story by MC2 Kelsey Hockenberger, Commander, Task Force 75
ROTA, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands – Seabees and Sailors assigned to Navy Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 1, Det. Guam, reconstructed emergency temporary roofs on homes damaged during Typhoon Mangkhut in Rota, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) that hit Sept. 10.
The Seabees arrived in Rota Oct. 10 to conduct same day to multi-day reconstruction efforts on the affected homes.
NMCB-1 removed damaged roofing materials and ensured homes were structurally sound; then reconstructed temporary emergency roofs, able to withstand wind forces from future storms.
For Builder 1st Class Scot Crist, assigned to NMCB-1, Det. Guam, from Buffalo, N.Y., being able to take part in missions like these is the reason he joined Navy.
“I believe a lot of people join the military, especially those in our community, is to make a difference in the lives of others and be a part of something important,” said Crist. “As Seabees, humanitarian relief and disaster recovery missions like this give us the chance to make that difference and see the impacts made in communities and individual lives.”
During their mission in Rota, NMCB-1 completed a total of 33 emergency temporary roofs for homes.
“I understand first hand the feeling of not having a roof over your head,” said Construction Electrician 1st Class Brenton Shepherd, assigned to NMCB-1, Detachment Guam, from Huntington, W. Va. “My house was destroyed during Hurricane Katrina, and for me it feels so gratifying to help the members of this community turn a house into a home again.”
The Seabees are relieving some of that stress from the community members due to roofs being torn from their foundations from the maximum sustained winds of over 160 kilometers per hour.
Rota Mayor Efraim Manglona Atalig said, “After Typhoon Mangkhut, people were traumatized and stressed, but because of the quick response of the military by the request of the governor, Ralph Torres, the recovery seems to be expeditiously in the works.”
Members from the community were appreciative of the work as they watched NMCB-1 restoring their roofs.
“I will just be more than happy when my roof is fixed,” said Virginia DeJesus, Rota resident. “Once the roof is back on, it will be a home again.”
FEMA also assisted in the joint-operation with NMCB-1, Commonwealth Advocates for Recovery Efforts and CNMI by providing the community with a federal asset with federal financial assistance.
“We’re here to assist in bringing in other federal partners to begin trying to restore to pre-disaster conditions and get people back into their homes,” said FEMA federal coordinating officer Benigno Bern Ruiz. “What the Seabees are doing here is really important, and their part in that effort is to get people back under their roof.”
During construction, Governor Ralph Deleon Guerrero Torres, of CNMI, visited the affected homes.
“I want to thank the gracious people from FEMA, DoD and Seabees working collaboratively to address the needs of our people here in Rota,” said Torres. “ When Typhoon Mangkhut came, the day after we had helicopters coming into the Islands and transporting the needed resources and manpower to assist our people here in Rota, Tinian and Saipan.”
The category 2 typhoon was the strongest storm to hit the island since 2002.
NMCB-1 provides task-tailored, adaptable, and combat effective engineering and construction forces that deploy to support Naval objectives globally and enable logistics for distributed Fleet operations.
CTF 75 is the primary expeditionary task force responsible for the planning and execution of coastal riverine operations, explosive ordnance disposal, diving engineering and construction, and underwater construction in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations.
For more information visit http://www.c7f.navy.mil/, www.navy.mil/, and https://www.public.navy.mil/seabee/Pages/default.aspx.