Dino W. Buchanan
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers-Honolulu District Public Affairs
FORT SHAFTER — The 565th Engineer Detachment (Forward Eng. Support Team-Advance), U.S. Army Corps of Engineers-Honolulu District, recently returned from a weeklong deployment to assist the Republic of the Marshall Islands government with prioritizing improvements to its infrastructure on the Majuro Atoll.
The team’s ultimate goal was to assist the U.S. Embassy and the government of RMI and provide a technical report that will prioritize recommendations for infrastructure improvements.
The detachment deployed at the request of the U.S. Embassy, Majuro and the RMI government.
Three members from the U.S. Army Reserve’s 747th Eng. Det. (FEST-A), from Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., supplemented the team.
“This mission … provided excellent interagency, multinational and technical training, and served as a major training event in the 565th’s preparation for future deployments,” said Maj. William Hannan, commander, 565th Eng. Det. “This type of training cannot be replicated in the normal pre-deployment training scenarios or even at the combat training centers.”
The team partnered with Majuro utility managers and operators to conduct combined surveys of Majuro’s sewer, water, electricity and trash systems to provide analysis and recommendations for improvement. Team members then conducted their site surveys alongside operators who ran individual components of each utility system.
“The success of the mission can be directly attributed to the teamwork between the Majuro utility workers and the 565th Eng. Det.,” Hannan said.
The district’s David Nishimura, civil eng., and Jon Hosaka, mechanical eng., analyzed water and sewer systems. The analysis included detailed assessments of pump stations, water wells, water catchments, water reservoirs, treatment components, distribution lines, fire hydrants, sewer lines, lift stations, manholes, treatment components, a sewer outfall pipe, storm drains and storm sewer outfalls.
“Although the work was very challenging, it was also rewarding to work with the Marshallese people, who had the same basic goal we did: (to) figure out how to improve the infrastructure of their atoll,” said Nishimura.
Capt. Kelly Thomas, Chief Warrant Officer Michael Harden and Master Sgt. Cedric McClure, all of 747th Eng. Det., surveyed and assessed the collection and disposal of medical waste, hazardous waste and regular municipal waste.
Alan Avery, electrical eng., 565th Eng. Det., conducted a survey of Majuro power generation and distribution systems, which included assessing seven diesel-fueled generators, power plant operations components and switch gear, transformers and more than 31 miles of distribution lines and components.
According to Hannan, the infrastructure survey directly links to one of the 565th Eng. Det.’s mission tasks: to provide technical engineer support.
The 565th Eng. Det. conducted the mission in three phases: pre-deployment research and coordination, on-site technical surveys and the technical report.
The COE Reach-Back Operations Center, COE-HD Base Development Team and other key members of the district assisted the 565th Eng. Det. with answers to technical requests and information that were beyond the team’s capabilities.
“The work was very intense and demanding due to the short time frame available to complete the mission,” Hannan said. “Honolulu District’s support (with) answering technical requests for information was crucial to the overall success of the mission. This mission not only enhanced the relationship between the U.S. and the Republic of the Marshall Islands, but also served as critical training for the 565th as it prepares to deploy to overseas contingency operations.”