U.S. Service Members are helping the government and residents of Guam return to normal after the impacts of Typhoon Mawar. The storm struck the island with winds up to 140 miles-per-hour on May 24, 2023.
Task Force West Deputy and Deputy Duel-Status Commander to Joint Task Force 671, Col. Chris Nagelvoort said that Guam has not been affected by a natural disaster of this severity and magnitude in a long time, thereby requiring a combination of new and old approaches and methods to accelerate recovery.
“The strength and slow pace of Typhoon Mawar affected the island in a way that left the citizens enduring over 36 hours of heavy winds and rain. This level of damage hasn’t been seen on the island in decades,” said Nagelvoort. “It damaged houses, particularly roofs, throughout the island creating the need for a program to repair roofs and help people return to their homes.”
On June 9, 2023, U.S. Department of Defense, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), in coordination with the Guam Homeland Security/Office of Civil Defense, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Mayor’s Council of Guam, launched the Roofing Installation Support Emergency Utilization Program (RISEUP) to help temporarily repair metal roofs damaged by Typhoon Mawar.
Soldiers from the 9th Mission Support Command from the U.S. Army Reserve deployed to Guam from Fort Shafter in Honolulu, Hawaii, to serve as the command element for Task Force RISEUP (TF RISEUP), while Soldiers from the 797th Engineer Company based out of the Dydasco Army Reserve Center in Barrigada, Guam, were mobilized to support the effort.
Maj. Ben Meintel, an engineering officer with TF RISEUP, said teamwork is vital to providing the support and comfort needed to bring families home.
“This effort has everyone across the DoD working together,” Meintel said. “Teams from Navy Seabees, Air Force Engineers and Army National Guard and Reserve support TF RISEUP and work every day to help in the recovery.”
Command Sgt. Maj. Joshua Engel, the TF RISEUP senior non-commissioned officer, shared that most of these Reserve Soldiers have themselves been affected. “We have locally affected National Guard and U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers, answering the call to duty to provide relief efforts within their local communities,” he said. “Our focus is to save lives, prevent human suffering, mitigate severe property damage.
The end state is to complete each project within our joint community by partnering with our active duty counterparts from AF 254/544 RED HORSE and the JTF 785 Seabees. The TF RISEUP joint teams combined efforts have had a positive affect they should be proud of.”
The goal of RISEUP is to identify houses that will be structurally sound after roof repairs, bringing families back home and relieving pressure on local shelters. Eligible roofs must cover indoor living space completely enclosed by walls to include facilities for cooking, eating, sleeping and sanitation.
Soldiers assigned to 797th Vertical Engineering Company, 9th Mission Support Command, U.S. Army Reserve provided the first temporary roofing repair June 10, 2023, for a family in Dededo, Guam. The team completed the project the following day providing the family with the installation of 1,500 square feet of roofing to provide protection from the elements until a permanent fix can be made by the home owners.
As of June 13, 2023, USACE received over 298 validated “rights of entry,” allowing assessment of homes’ eligibility for the program.
Local residents impacted by the storm should first contact their local mayor’s office to initiate the process.
Courtesy of the 305th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment