VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (NNS) -- Maritime Civil Affairs and Security Training (MCAST) Command welcomed the return of the Maritime Civil Affairs Team (MCAT) 103 Aug. 30, after a more than three-month deployment aboard USS Pearl Harbor (LSD 52) in support of Pacific Partnership 2013.
MCAT 103 supported Pacific Partnership 2013, by conducting maritime civil-military operations in the Oceania region, where they worked with the participating island nations and the humanitarian community to build capability and preparedness in disaster response and strengthen regional relationships, promote mutual security interests and enhance partner capacity and interoperability.
The team conducted 80 civic assistance and disaster response events and 30 infrastructure assessment throughout their deployment to the six countries of: Samoa, Tonga, Papua New Guinea, Kiribati, the Solomon Islands, and the Republic of the Marshall Islands.
"This deployment was a tremendous opportunity for our civil affairs team in allowing us to assess and help build disaster response capabilities in countries that are prone to natural disasters. In just three months our team executed 85 civil affairs missions in six countries at an extremely competent level, and I believe our actions helped the people of Oceania become better equipped for the time when disaster strikes," said Lt.j.g. Paul Newell, officer in charge of MCAT 103.
Throughout their deployment, MCAT 103 held six Basic Sea Survival (BSS) courses for local fisherman and regional security and emergency services. The BSS course is designed to give seagoing individuals, or those living along the coast, the skills required to act for themselves when found in an environment where sea survival is necessary.
MCAT 103 also supported 17 community relations projects, held four courses in combat casualty care, held a disaster response field training exercise, assisted in the installation of biosand water filtration systems, conducted training in small boat operations, and logged more than 400 hours of community leader engagements and subject matter expert exchanges.
An MCAT is typically a five-person unit, consisting of a team commander, a coxswain, a constructionman, a communicator and a corpsman. Though these skill sets are mostly derived from the appropriate U.S. Navy ratings, often Sailors are cross trained prior to deployment.
MCAST Command provides flexible and responsive teams of U.S. Navy Expeditionary Sailors, on demand, to establish and enhance relations between military forces, governmental and nongovernmental organizations, and the civilian communities.
MCAST Command, formed in 2009 from the merger of the former Maritime Civil Affairs Group and Expeditionary Training Command, is under the guidance of Navy Expeditionary Combat Command and is headquarted at Naval Air Station Oceana - Dam Neck Annex.
For more information about MCAST Command, visit www.mcast.navy.mil or www.navy.mil/local/MCAST/.
For more news from Navy Expeditionary Combat Command, visit www.navy.mil/local/necc/.