NMCB 11 Seabees Participate in Kosrae’s Liberation Festival

By Petty Officer 3rd Class Justin Emerson, NMCB 11 CCAD Kosrae LELU, Kosrae. — Seabees from Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 11 Construction Civic Action Detail (CCAD) Micronesia recently participated […]

By Petty Officer 3rd Class Justin Emerson, NMCB 11 CCAD Kosrae

LELU, Kosrae. — Seabees from Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 11 Construction Civic Action Detail (CCAD) Micronesia recently participated in Kosrae’s Liberation Festival on September 8th through September 10th, 2016.

160909-N-RP420-001

Seabees deployed from Gulfport, Mississippi in August 2016 to Kosrae, Federal States of Micronesia (FSM) for 6 months to execute humanitarian civic assistance construction projects, host nation construction apprentice training, and medical community relation (COMREL) support in order to increase the country’s infrastructure capacity, strengthen the US relationship with FSM, and develop grassroots relationships with the local populace. The CCAD team recently participated in Kosrae’s annual Liberation Festival. The festival is held every year to celebrate the arrival of two US destroyers, U.S.S. Hyman and U.S.S. Soley, into Lelu Harbor on September 8, 1945 marking the end of the Japanese occupation that occurred through World War II.

Twelve Seabees from the CCAD took part in the three-day festival. On the 8th of September the Seabees joined the local community at Lelu Harbor for the opening ceremony including the raising of the Kosrae state flag and a parade introducing the five hamlets competing against each other in the festival’s activities. Seabees then faced off with the local softball All-Star team in a softball tournament held as part of the festival.

At the beginning of the second day of the festival the CCAD team was graciously invited by the Seasiders Hamlet to join their team for all the festival’s competitions and events. The Seabees and the Seasiders began the day marching down the street signing the Seasiders Hamlet’s anthem into the competition field at Lelu Elementary. Throughout the day the Seabees competed with the local community in multiple events including: sprints, relay races, tire-rolling relays, an egg-toss and many other field-day style events.

The final day consisted of traditional out-rigger canoe races at Lelu Harbor. The day was kicked off with all the different hamlets marching down to the day’s opening ceremony where the Officer in Charge of CCAD Micronesia, Ensign Ryan Mulligan, was asked to give remarks on behalf of the United States Armed Forces.

Ensign Mulligan summed up the entire experience as an incredibly unique opportunity that he never imagined he’d be lucky enough to be a part of:

“It was an incredible experience for our CCAD team to be representing the United States Navy at a festival that celebrates the arrival of our Navy 74 years prior. The gratitude Kosrae has for the United States and specifically the US Navy originating from liberation of the island from Japanese occupation is still evident today. The entire community treats us like family.”

The importance of having the Navy represented at the festival was echoed by Sergeant Major Nedlic, an active duty Army NCO spending leave in Kosrae to celebrate the Liberation Festival.

“It was great having the CCAD here to participate in our liberation festival with us, we were glad to have you all on the Seasiders.”

The festival left a lasting impact not only with the Kosrae community, but also with the NMCB 11 Seabees:

“I’ve been in the Navy for 12 years now and I’ve never been given the opportunity to give back to the community the way I have here in Kosrae and that’s one of the reasons I joined the Navy. It’s very heartwarming to me to be accepted here as part of the community.” said Petty Officer 1st Class Brian Baughman.

“Being able to participate in local customs and cultures was very exciting, and to be welcomed by the Kosraean people made me feel like all our hard work here is paying off by building stronger relationships with the Kosraean people.” said Seaman Liam McShea.

Members of NMCB 11’s CCAD Kosrae continue to strengthen relationships daily with the Federated States of Micronesia by providing construction support, construction apprentice training, medical outreach, and community support to the local populace.

NMCB 11 is a Seabee battalion specializing in contingency construction, disaster response, and humanitarian assistance. The battalion’s homeport is in Gulfport, Miss.

The Naval Construction Force is a vital component of the U.S. Maritime Strategy. They offer deployable battalions capable of providing contingency construction, disaster preparation and recovery support, humanitarian assistance, and combat operations support.