Civic Action Team provides community outreach

| October 13, 2011 | 0 Comments

Maj. Mitch Hibbard, medical officer, CAT, 84th Eng. Bn., 130th Eng. Bde., 8th TSC, checks the tonsils of Kaii Dixon, 7, during a community outreach project in the Republic of Palau, recently. (Courtesy of Verlisa Oblical)

Maj. Mitch Hibbard, medical officer, CAT, 84th Eng. Bn., 130th Eng. Bde., 8th TSC, checks the tonsils of Kaii Dixon, 7, during a community outreach project in the Republic of Palau, recently. (Courtesy of Verlisa Oblical)

Team immerses itself in Palau’s culture and projects to improve local quality of life

1st Lt. Brandy Kinstle
84th Engineer Battalion, 130th Eng. Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command

CAMP KATUU, Republic of Palau  — They call themselves the Army CAT.

The CAT, or a Civic Action Team, is a small group of Soldiers who deploy to a region to provide technical engineering, mechanical assistant, medical support and outreach, and relationship building between U.S. service members and local communities.

A team of 13 Soldiers from the 84th Engineer Battalion, 130th Eng. Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command, recently set out for a seven-month CAT mission, here.

The CAT is known for the skills and assistance its members provide. Since the team’s arrival, it has taken on a wide variety of missions and has immersed its members in the local culture.

A large part of the mission, here, is engineer civic action projects in the communities. The CAT is currently involved in two major projects: the construction of a combination police and fire substation and repairs of a vital road.

Melekeok Road is also significant to the community and team members for another reason. The first Palauan casualty of Operation Iraqi Freedom, a U.S. Army Soldier, is laid to rest in the cemetery that this road services.

Sgt. Ean Adamson, heavy equipment operator, CAT, 84th Eng. Bn., takes special pride in his job, because “it is important to honor our fallen comrades whether they are American born or not,” he said.

Another partnership between the CAT and the local community is the apprenticeship program. Young adults apply for jobs and are hired by the CAT through the Palau Community Action Agency. The apprentices learn valuable skills in construction trades, mechanics, office administration and medical trades.

Verlisa Oblical is the administrative assistant scheduled to graduate from the program in December. She joined the program because she said she “wanted to learn everything I can to get a good job and support my family.”

The medical civil action project is another portion of the mission that greatly benefits the people in the communities.

Maj. Mitch Hibbard, medical officer, CAT, 84th Eng. Bn., has screened and treated more than 300 patients during the past month in a make-shift clinic he set up in outdoor pavilions.

The final piece to the CAT mission is community relations, which is probably the most fun.

“I get to go out and have fun in the local communities and call it work,” said Spc. Shawn Gregory, steelworker, CAT, 84th Eng. Bn.

The CAT will remain in Palau until mid-February. The team will continue to serve the community and learn about the local culture.

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Category: Deployed Forces, News

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