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Air Force builds medical facility, improves medical care for Palau

  • Published
  • By Airman Carissa Wolff
  • Joint Region Edge Staff
The Civil Action Team program, a joint humanitarian operation, recently opened a new Air Force-built medical facility on the Micronesian island of Palau. 

The $150,000 Airai Clinic, built by more than a dozen Air Force civil engineers, opened May 5 and will provide basic medical care to the local community of Palau. 

"This clinic is important because it's in a centralized location on Palau," said Tech. Sgt. Trevor Makin, 36th Civil Engineer Squadron Palau site manager. "The new medical facility is very convenient [because] a significant amount of residents on Palau have transportation issues that prevent them from going to the only hospital on the island." 

Members from Team Andersen have been working alongside other Air Force members in this program since November 2008, providing structural, utility and medical support. 

"It was really great to build the Airai Clinic from the ground up, and to see it used to help people in need," said Staff Sgt. John Kallen, 554th RED HORSE Squadron structural craftsman, currently on temporary duty with the CAT program. "I get a really good feeling when I realize the Air Force and Team Andersen helped make this possible." 

Master Sgt. Christopher Earnest, CAT program electrician TDY from Peterson AFB, Colo., also expressed his views on the project. 

"It has been quite an experience seeing the facility go from a patch of land to a working building. It has been extraordinary being a part of this project and knowing I'm part of something bigger," Sergeant Earnest said. 

Capt. Jeremy Kersey, 36th Medical Operations Squadron physician's assistant and medical officer for the CAT program, is the PA currently on temporary duty with the CAT program. Captain Kersey also visits patients who have travel constraints due to financial or medical reasons and treats them at their homes on Palau and the surrounding islands. 

"I love my job now more than ever," Captain Kersey said. "I like serving my country and by doing so helping people in general. The CAT program is significantly impacting Palau's people by providing much needed medical care." 

The CAT program in the Republic of Palau is a joint-service humanitarian initiative, and Adm. Timothy Keating, U.S. Pacific Command commander, is the overall program manager. The mission of the Civic Action Team program is two-fold - providing infrastructure development and a favorable U.S. military presence in the host country.