Forward-deployed sailors help beautify Guam school
DEDEDO - Sailors from Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit (EODMU) 5 spent their Saturday morning helping to paint and clean Wettengel Elementary School in Dededo Aug. 9.
The partnership between the Navy command and staff members from the school was an effort to beautify and prepare the site for its reopening, following the end of summer vacation for its students.
“It’s good to get out and help the community,” said Logistics Specialist 2nd Class (EXW) Brandon Hatch. “[The community] supports you and you need to support them back. Everybody here is really friendly on Guam.”
Hatch said he has also helped paint bus stops and participated in other volunteer activities around Guam since arriving here about a year ago, so he did not mind joining when a request was sent out for volunteers.
The command has supported the school for several years under the Navy’s Sister School and Sister Village Community Relations Program. The program’s intent is to foster strong relationships between the active duty and civilian communities, while also providing direct support to the island.
Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician 3rd Class John Dirks said he and other volunteers have been on Guam for less than two months, so he had never been to the school before.
“We haven’t been out here that long, and it’s just good for us to get out and help out,” Dirks said. “I did a lot back in the States like working with the YMCA, coaching school kids in volleyball and other activities like that.”
Wettengel Elementary School is home to nearly 730 students and expects to welcome them back for classes on Aug. 19. Elias Taisipic, assistant principal, said it has taken a lot of hard work to get the school ready for the new school year and they appreciate EODMU 5’s efforts.
“We look forward to working with the military,” Taisipic said. “We’ve always had a great working relationship in the past and I hope to continue that relationship.”
The mission of EODMU 5 is to locate, identify, render safe, and remove biological, chemical, conventional, nuclear, radiological, and improvised explosive hazards. They are a forward deployed team that operates within the Western Pacific and other areas as directed.