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.
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Dillion, a builder apprentice, learns to use the pneumatic nailer while building a stage for the Foundation Church renovation in Ariai, Palau with his supervisor, SPC Daniel Roberts in January 2017. CAT 84-04 Soldiers lead apprentices in various trades, graduating four apprentices in electrical, administration, and equipment operation fields. (U.S. Army photo)
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.
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Utilitiesman 2nd Class Richard Johnson, assigned to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 5, replaces a support joist on a building on Camp Katuu, which is home to Civic Action Team (CAT) Palau, June 26, 2018. (Photo by MCCnMatthew White)
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.
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Utilitiesman 1st Class Mariah Stanton, right, assigned to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 133 Civic Action Team (CAT) Palau, briefs U.S. Army 1st Lt. Kevin Hadden, center, and U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class William Greer, assigned to 84th Engineer Battalion, 130th Engineer Brigade, on the water catchment system she is installing at the Ngeremlengui Elementary School in Ibobang, Palau, December 13, 2017. (Photo by MC1 Benjamin Lewis)