YOKOSUKA, Japan— Naval Facilities Engineering Command Far East is celebrating National Public Works Week, which runs May 17-23.
More than 1400 NAVFAC Far East public works employees serve U.S. Navy and Marine Corps installations in Japan, Korea, Singapore and the British Indian Ocean Territory (Diego Garcia).
“Public Works Departments are the backbone of an installation,” said Bob Andres, NAVFAC Far East public works business line coordinator. “They are responsible for the effectiveness and efficiency of the facilities shore establishment. National Public Works Week is an opportunity to recognize the professional effort from this often unheralded team, who make the facilities shore establishment work, and allow the warfighter to focus on their mission.”
Public Works Departments are the service delivery platform to Installations and their tenant Commands. Installation Commanding Officers rely on the public works department to maintain existing buildings and roads, provide electricity, water, and sanitation services, oversee the construction of new infrastructure, plan for future requirements, prioritize work based on fiscal constraints, and ensure compliance with environmental laws and regulations. In addition, the PWDs are expected to identify and implement creative solutions to achieve long-term goals, such as reduced energy demand.
This year’s Public Works Week theme “Community Begins Here” aptly captures NAVFAC Far East’s mission focus. Last year, NAVFAC Far East responded to 54,591 routine service calls and 3,385 emergency calls. These responses don’t just support Navy, Marine Corps and other Dept. of Defense commands, they directly contribute to quality of life for forward-deployed Sailors, Marines and their families.
At Fleet Activities (FLEACT) Sasebo, PWD facilities planners are working with installation departments such as fire, port operations and safety, and also the Government of Japan (GOJ) Sasebo Defense Office and Kyushu Defense Bureau to relocate a fire fighting trainer and over 200,000 lbs of fleet mooring gear to complete a transfer of the former Sakibe Annex to GOJ. When finalized, the land release will support the Japan Maritime-Self Defense Force's (JMSDF) stand up of an amphibious task force brigade.
“This collaboration demonstrates that some of the routine efforts that PWDs perform have large impacts to strategic programs, be it with our own fleet or our allies’,” said Lt. Cmdr. Dean Allen, FLEACT Sasebo public works officer. “We often partner with our host nation stakeholders because many PWD programs touch facilities issues that are shared between U.S. Navy's Seventh Fleet and the JMSDF. These include natural and cultural resources, Japanese-funded construction projects, real property management, and energy conservation.”
Sakibe Annex, the former home of Assault Craft Unit 5, was closed in 2013 when they relocated to a new operational waterfront near Saikai City. The 32-acre site will be transferred to GOJ by 2017.
NAVFAC Far East public works professionals are also at the forefront of executing cutting-edge energy projects for the Navy to help meet the Secretary of the Navy’s energy goals. Advanced metering, renewable energy, and residential energy conservation projects are helping to reduce the demand for energy, on and off base.
National Public Works week is a public education campaign by the American Public Works Association. Its aim is to raise public awareness of public works issues and employees who are dedicated to improving the quality of life for present and future generations.