Story and photos by
1st Lt. Danielle Monroe
643rd Engineer Company Platoon Leader, 84th Eng. Battalion, 130th Eng. Brigade, 8th Sustainment Command
NGARDMAU, Palau — Soldiers from the Civic Action Team, 84th Engineer Battalion, 130th Eng. Brigade, recently completed construction on the Ngardmau Police and Fire Substation in the Republic of Palau, April 27.
Currently, the “Never Daunted” battalion is deployed throughout Oceania in support of the strategic pivot towards the Pacific.
This substation location will greatly reduce response times and will bring peace of mind to the area knowing emergency responders are nearby.
The pre-engineered building was completed with the help of seven CAT rotations of Air Force Prime Beef Engineers, Navy Seabees and Army engineer units. The completion was met with great fanfare, including a ribbon cutting ceremony attending by political, military and community leaders.
Staff Sgt. Justin Vegafria, the jobsite crew leader with the CAT, was proud of his team’s accomplishments.
“My team did an exceptional job completing this building,” he said. “I’m proud of how quickly they learned and how well they bonded with the other apprentices on site.”
The building required extensive plumbing, electrical and acoustical work prior to opening. Soldiers worked diligently on installing more than 20 lights and two 3-stall bathrooms in the facility.
Additionally, the team installed the doors, walls, ceilings and baseboards to put the final touches on a building that would have tremendous impact in the local community.
“The pride these men and women had in their task shows in final product; it’s been quite an experience for me to lead this team,” said Sgt. 1st Class Benoit Fregiste, the noncommissioned officer in charge of the CAT Palau, after the ceremony.
The team is poised to continue to grow and foster lasting bonds in the community. There is little time to sit back on their laurels, as the team constantly seeks out new construction projects, missions and community engagements.
The completion of this building represents another milestone in the partnership between the United States and the Republic of Palau, displaying how through continued cooperation, great things can be accomplished.
The Police and Fire Substation is located in Ngardmau, home to the highest elevation in the country, Mount Ngerchelchuus, at over 700 feet, as well as Taki Falls, a scenic waterfall that is one of many tourist attractions in the Republic of Palau.
Although many services had a hand in its construction, it was the CAT that had the honor of completing the building and being present for the ribbon cutting ceremony.
It was another milestone in the partnership between the United States and the Republic of Palau, displaying how great things can be accomplished when we come together to strengthen civilian institutions that serve and protect local families.