Engineers Make a Difference at Fleet Activities Yokosuka

By James Johnson, NAVFAC Far East Public Affairs

YOKOSUKA, Japan – Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Far East celebrates National Engineers Week, Feb. 21-27.

“Department of Defense engineers are making an impact throughout the Far East,” said NAVFAC Far East Commanding Officer Capt. Kevin Bartoe. “At NAVFAC, we provide a full range of engineering expertise delivering critical infrastructure for Seventh Fleet and III Marine Expeditionary Force across the area of operations. Our work enables our warfighters and host-nation partners to accomplish their mission.”

More than 200 NAVFAC Far East engineers support naval activities in Japan, the Republic of Korea, Singapore and Diego Garcia in the British Indian Ocean Territory. They work in a variety of engineering disciplines, including civil, structural, electrical, mechanical, and environmental, and architectural.

To celebrate National Engineers Week, NAVFAC Far East hosted an “egg drop” competition. Teams from NAVFAC Far East, Public Works Department (PWD) Yokosuka and Kinnick High School (KHS) were given 15 minutes to design and construct a device to protect an egg from a 20-foot drop. Materials included a plastic bag, string, tape, a toilet paper roll and packing peanuts.

Points were awarded for team spirit, efficiency in design, aesthetic design, and of course, protecting the egg. A KHS team took third place and teams of NAVFAC engineers took first and second.

“I think the students here as part of the Kinnick High School Engineering Club certainly have that aptitude inherent in them,” said NAVFAC Far East Chief Engineer Russ Mattson. “You can tell that they’re just very bright minds and they’re excited about doing things and putting their skills to use. So I think these students are certainly engineers to be, or STEM – science, technology, engineering, math – type folks and I think that they’re looking for ways to apply those skills and those aptitudes. This is encouraging them to continue on that route.”

Also during the week, local students were given tours of PWD Yokosuka facilities with significant ties to engineering processes and applications.  These tours included visits to the installation’s incinerator plant, wastewater treatment plant, and photovoltaic (solar cells) systems.

“As we did our tours, it was reassuring to see the interest the children showed in engineering and technical topics,” said Public Works Officer Cmdr. Ben Miller.  “With the country’s renewed focus on STEM subjects, it is important to share with the children the many awesome benefits of engineering and technical skills.”

The National Engineers Week theme for 2016 is “Engineers Make a World of Difference.”  The aim is to celebrate how engineers make a difference in our world and bring engineering to life for kids, educators, and parents.

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