DVIDS – News – Marine engineers bond with schools


A small group of Marines made a big impact in the community of Ngeremlengui, Republic of Palau.

A team of engineers from the Koa Moana 21 task force, I Marine Expeditionary Force, began work at the Ngeremlengui Elementary School on October 2, 2021. During the week-long project, the Marines worked with officials. of the school to make the school a more welcoming learning environment.

When deployed, it is not uncommon for engineers to build combat positions, fortifications, and conduct demolition missions. However, their skills extend far beyond combat operations and allow them to help communities thrive.

“We are replacing the window mesh with plywood to create a more closed storage room and build shelves inside,” said US Marine Corps 1st Lt. David Medema, platoon commander with Engineer Company, Task Force Koa Moana 21. “We’re also covering the bare concrete floor of the kitchen pantry with tiles to match the rest of the kitchen and creating a smooth transition between rooms.

For the Marines, this project was less about work than giving back to a community that welcomed them.

“The engineers are delighted. Everyone is grateful for the opportunity to work here in Palau and more specifically to make an impact with local children, ”said Medema, of Mariposa, Calif. “We’ve had kids running around to hug the Marines, so it’s very obvious that they’re also thrilled that this work is being done in school. I’m sure as we go on and reveal the final product, we will continue to have only positive experiences. “

School officials are also excited about the opportunity to work with the Marines.

“The Marines have helped us a lot. The schools are really happy about it, ”said Walter Umetaro, operations specialist at the Ministry of Education.
Medema said it was a particularly beneficial experience for the young engineers in the peloton.

“For many Marines, this is their first deployment. They discover a whole new facet of our operational capability instead of focusing primarily on what we are capable of doing in times of conflict, ”said Medema.

Cpl. Michael StraussHoffman, a combat engineer with Task Force Koa Moana 21, is one of the Marines currently serving on his first deployment.

“We are trained to be well balanced and are capable of more than effort in wartime,” said StraussHoffman, of Rossville, Ga. “We have a responsibility to be able to use our knowledge to help communities as well. “

School officials were grateful for the progress made and invited the Marines to return.

“We are really very happy with the help and appreciate their efforts. We hope the Marines can return and look forward to working together on other projects in the future, ”Umetaro said.

The Koa Moana Task Force is designed to strengthen and improve relations between the United States and partner countries / states in the Indo-Pacific region while remaining safe from COVID-19. The task force has the unique opportunity and privilege to work with the Republic of Palau as a sign of the United States’ commitment to the people of Palau and their partners and allies in the Indo-Pacific region.

Date taken: 10.02.2021
Date posted: 10.10.2021 22:01
Story ID: 407056
Hometown: MARIPESA, California, United States
Hometown: ROSSVILLE, Georgia, United States

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