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Seabees Achieve Milestone on Timor Leste Schoolhouse

By MC1 Rosalie Chang, NMCB 4 Public Affairs

NMCB 4 DET Timor Leste

Seabees assigned to NMCB 4 assist in the transportation and unloading of concrete masonry unit blocks to the Manleuana three-classroom primary school worksite in Dili, Timor Leste, March 19. NMCB 4 is one of the forward deployed Pacific battalions ready to support major combat operations, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, and to provide general engineering and civil support to U.S. and joint operational forces. (Photo by Construction Electrician Constructionman George Oliver/160319-N-ZZ999-150)

Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 4’s Construction Civic Action Detail (CCAD) Timor Leste reached a major milestone on a much-needed schoolhouse for the children of Timor Leste, March 14.

“We were able to reach our first major milestone today,” said Builder 1st Class Brian Whitsitt, project supervisor, NMCB 4. “We placed the initial concrete to stabilize the soil and provide a strong base for the footers that will support the weight of the primary schoolhouse building.”

The project began with the transportation of materials, tools and equipment to the project site. Once the site was prepared and the building dimensions were measured and marked, the crew began excavating for the foundation. From the start, the project was challenging due to runoff from frequent rains that flooded the site. However, the crew was able to build a berm to minimize the water flow onto the site ensuring the Timor-Leste Defense Force engineers and NMCB 4 Seabees could complete excavation, place and level footer forms, and stage rebar mats at the job site.

“Working at the project site in this climate was challenging because of the high temperature and humidity,” said Utilitiesman Constructionman Christopher Parrilla, NMCB 4. “But at the end of the day, all the hard work we put into the school will be worth it, because this project will be here for many years and it will benefit the children in this area.”

Crewmembers were excited to overcome the challenges and make noticeable progress on the project.

“This project is one of the reasons why I joined the Navy; we are lucky to have opportunities like this to help a country build a school that will serve more than 400 students,” said Whitsitt. “In the short time we have been in Timor Leste, our Seabees have worked hand-in-hand with the host nation and have made a significant impact on the community. I look forward to completing this project and many others like it.”

NMCB 4 is the forward deployed Pacific battalion ready to support Major Combat Operations and Humanitarian Assistance/ Disaster Relief operations, and provide general engineering and civil support to Navy, Marine Corps and joint operational forces. Homeported out of Port Hueneme, California, NMCB 4 has detachment sites deployed throughout the United States and Pacific area of operations, including Cambodia, Diego Garcia, Guam, Japan, Philippines, Republic of Korea and Timor Leste.
NMCB 4 DET Timor Leste

Builder Constructionman Anthony Estrada from El Paso, Texas, assigned to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 4, uses an auto level to measure the height of the project site in Dili, Timor Leste, Mar. 24.  These measurements show the crew where to cut or fill dirt to ensure the site is level prior to excavation, formwork and concrete placement. (U.S. Navy photo by Construction Electrician Constructionman George Oliver/160324-N-ZZ999-205)


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