NEWS | April 29, 2020

U.S. Navy Seabees with NMCB-5 Aide Pohnpei Island in COVID-19 Preparation

By Petty Officer 3rd Class Christian Carlson Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 5

POHNPEI, MICRONESIA, Federated States Micronesia -- U.S. Navy Seabees with Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 5’s Detail Pohnpei completed the first set of eight head and shower facilities to assist the local government in a proactive response to the COVID-19 outbreak April 21.

Additional head and showers are currently being built and staged outside of the isolation rooms at Misco Beach that NMCB-5’s Seabees renovated in January. The isolation rooms were built to ensure any people under investigation of COVID-19 have a temporary living space while they are monitored for the virus.

Deputy Chief of Mission for the U.S. Embassy Heather Coble received the completed facilities and explained the impact they could have on Pohnpei. She also expressed her gratitude to the Seabees for helping the local government prepare for any potential positive COVID-19 cases.

“This pushes them so much further along than they were, to begin with,” said Coble. “The Seabees gave them the comfort level and the support that they needed to make decisions which could be vital to survival here if COVID-19 pops positive. It’s not only a good thing I think it’s a very necessary thing and it could be a life-saving thing.”

Both facilities are 5-by-5 foot lean-to style buildings that contain utilities and tiled floors to give potential occupants a clean and isolated area to shower and use the restroom, should they need to be placed in quarantine when traveling to Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia.

“[This project] is meant to be a proactive response since they don’t have any cases here yet,” said Construction Electrician 3rd Class Ignacio Munguia, NMCB-5’s project crew leader. “As long as we’re going to be here, we might as well keep doing things that are going to help someone.”

NMCB-5 is deployed across the Indo-Pacific region conducting high-quality construction to support U.S. and partner nations to strengthen partnerships, deter aggression, and enable expeditionary logistics and naval power projection. The battalion stands ready to support humanitarian aid/disaster relief and major combat operations throughout the region.