ANGAUR, Palau– After completing 60 construction projects and more than 100 community relations events within six months, a team of 13 Army engineers returned to Hawaii from a humanitarian assistance operation in the Republic of Palau, Aug. 24.
This mission was part of a joint, rotational mission displaying the U.S. continued support and partnership with the Republic of Palau. Palau is part of the Micronesian region with a population of 18,000 and is a made up of 500 islands, consisting of 16 states.
â€œThe 13 Soldiers were hand-selected, which made this team elite,â€ said 1st Lt. Angela Smith, a member of Civic Action Team Palau 84-03 (CAT-P), 130th Engineer Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command. â€œThey were sensitive to cultural intricacies and ready to make a difference.â€
CAT-P worked primarily in the state of Angaur where the team completed 10 of the larger construction operations such as rerouting the one and only access road Palauans used to get to the rest of the main island.
Another significant project they completed was the expansion of the 7,200 foot airfield by 40 feet on each side, which will allow the area to support future emergency operations and military exercises, said Smith. Following that project, the team cleared out a two-acre jungle-infested Coast Guard station allowing an area for possible agricultural, military, or tourist use.
During their mission, the team was able to interact with the local population through community events such as assisting the local community with cleanup initiatives to partnering with the Palau National Olympic Committee to inspire students not exposed to a physical education curriculum by hosting organized sports and encouraging a healthy lifestyle.
Not only did their engineering efforts make an impact on the Palauans but the Palauans made an impact on the team members as well.
â€œMy Soldier Spc. Morgan Orme and I had the incredible opportunity of working side-by-side with the loving people of Angaur for almost two months,â€ said Sgt. Sundan Bradbury, a CAT-P 84-03 team member. â€œThe experiences we had there of clearing jungle, improving the runway, and creating a road will never overshadow the feeling of joy these amazing people brought into our life. These people really captured my heart and became part of my family.â€
As the team transitioned out, they handed the mission over to the 554th Red Horse Squadron from Andersen Air Force Base, Guam.
This mission represents the continuity and unity of effort in joint operations amongst Air Force Prime Beef and Red Horse, Navy Seabees and Army Engineers in the Pacific Area of Operations, said Smith.