Monday, August 6, 2007

NMCB-133 drilling wells, building schools in the HOA

26 Jul 07
by MC1 Mary Popejoy
CJTF-HOA Public Affairs.

The Seabees of Naval Mobile Construction Battalion-ONE THIRTY THREE Detachment Horn of Africa at Camp Lemonier have been deployed to the Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa area of operation since Feb. 5 performing well drilling operations, school building projects and other quality of life projects throughout East Africa.

The Seabees, more than 130 strong, are currently in Djibouti, Ethiopia and Kenya providing each community with much-needed assistance to improve the quality of life in each area. Each project the Seabees have taken on aligns with the task force’s mission of preventing conflict, promoting regional stability and protecting coalition interests in order to prevail against extremism. This mission is accomplished by partnering with nations on humanitarian assistance, civic action programs such as school and medical clinic construction and water development projects.

“I am very proud of each and every member of my team because they not only have built structures, but have formed friendly bonds that will mentally form lasting impressions with those they’ve helped,” said Navy Lt. Edward Miller, officer in charge of NMCB-133 Det. Djibouti. “Our efforts not only make the host nation populace appreciate our efforts, but the efforts their government is making to better their lives.”

As part of improving the different locations throughout the Horn of Africa, the Seabees are currently doing projects at the Abiot Emerja and Charichcho Schools in Ethiopia where they are building concrete masonry units, which will be used to house office spaces, classrooms, a library and latrines. The Seabees will also help improve ground drainage, install shelving units and provide electricity to the new and existing structures.

In Kenya, they’re doing several projects such as replacing a deteriorating boat ramp, renovating and completing Southwest Asia-style huts and installing air handlers. In addition to those tasks, the Seabees are also conducting Water Well drilling operations in cooperation with the Kenyan Ministry of Water.

Closer to home in Hol Hol, Djibouti, the Seabees have demolished a portion of the existing deteriorated school structure and begun partial reconstruction of the schoolhouse. The statement of work includes replacing all windows, doors, wood style ceiling tiles, installing new ceiling fans and installing a block structure with four Turkish-style pit toilets.

“Many of the projects throughout the Horn of Africa are completed by local contractors, so when the Seabees take on a task there are less people and it might take longer, but it will be of better quality and have a more positive impact on the community,” said Miller. “We bring our specialty skills and our American building standards, so we’re going to make sure what we build lasts a long time and doesn’t pose any safety concerns.”

For Builder 2nd Class Gabriel Kelly, it provides a lot of personal satisfaction being able to build structures in a country such as Africa. “It is very rewarding to be able to use the skills I have and provide a better way of life for the people who use the facilities in the future,” he said.

According to BU1 (Seabee Combat Warfare) Michael Cadoret, project manager for Camp Lemonier, the end result of each project makes it completely worthwhile. “The best part of any project is seeing the smiles on the kids’ faces and how happy they are to have a new and improved building for them to use,” he said. “Seeing the effect and impact our projects have on a community make the long hours completely worth it.”

Leaving the community with a good impression of the U.S. military is an important and critical part of every mission. “We want them to know Americans are good people and we’re here to do good things that will benefit the area in many ways,” said Cadoret. “Each project we do is a stepping stone that brings Africans closer to helping Africa become more stable in the Horn of Africa.”

So when its time for NMCB-133 to pack up and head back to the states in mid-August, the Seabees can be proud of their individual and team success and the improvements that have made Africa better than when they first arrived on scene.

“When this deployment wraps up, we’ll feel good about what we’ve accomplished here because we as a team have grown personally and professionally by doing these great projects and improving Africa; one project at a time,” said Miller.

Photo - Seabees from Naval Mobile Construction Battalion ONE THIRTY THREE pour concrete into a concrete pad located inside the expansion area of Camp Lemonier May 15. The concrete pad project is just one of three projects the Seabees are responsible for on Camp Lemonier. U.S. Navy photo by Lt. Edward Miller.

Source: www.Navy.mil.

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