KOROR, Palau (NNS) -- U.S. 7th Fleet Far East Brass Band performed at Palau High School to celebrate 50 years of the Civic Action Team (CAT) and the partnership between the U.S. and Palau Aug. 12.
CAT Palau, which was established in 1969 by the U.S. Department of the Interior and carried out by the Department of Defense, was initially a Navy-led program, but in 1970 the U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force joined the program. Currently, the three services rotate deployments to Palau every six months.
“Being here in Palau has been amazing, because the people are so welcoming and the audiences have just been fantastic," said Chief Musician Brandon Schoonmaker, a native of Newhaven, Indiana. “Thus far, all of our performances have been for the school kids which we love doing. Throughout the rest of the week our band will play some music and put some smiles on people’s faces. It's our opportunity to interact with the people here in Palau and it’s the best part of the job.”
During the week of celebration, the band is scheduled to play several concerts for local community members of all ages.
“The Navy band is the greatest thing to get to experience here at Palau High School,” said Jay Beraquit, a senior at Palau High School. “I got to get out and dance with the band and have a good time. And being able to hear such great music and information about the CAT team and what they do for Palau … it was a fun afternoon in school.”
The Far East Brass Band's goal during the week-long 50th Anniversary celebration will be to bring music and cultural experiences to the people of Palau.
“It gives us an opportunity to connect one on one with people,” said Musician 2nd Class James Brownell, a native of Miami. “I am really looking forward to the rest of CAT week’s musical engagements.”
The people of Palau are not the only people who will be looking forward to the scheduled performances, according to several Sailors assigned to the Far East Band.
“It doesn’t matter how many concerts I do, it’s always a surprise when you see a kid come out and dance or express themselves,” said Musician 3rd Class Jared Goodrum, a native of Albuquerque, New Mexico. “When they come out and dance and have a good time I get hyped, I get excited no matter how tired I am.”
CAT Palau provides community construction support to the host nation, assists and trains apprentices with general engineering skills, facilitates a medical outreach program and coordinates community relationship programs. CAT Palau is an integral part of the U.S. mission to assist and support the development of the Republic of Palau through agreements made in the Compact of Free Association between the two nations. 2019 marks the 50th anniversary of the CAT mission in Palau.
For more news from Commander, Task Force 75, visit www.navy.mil/local/ctf75/.