NMCB 23 Seabees Refurbish School, Clinic in Haiti

By Lt. Matthew Comer, Southern Partnership Station Public Affairs

A Seabee (center) assigned to NCMB 23, embarked aboard High Speed Vessel (HSV 2) Swift, and U.N. soldiers from the Indonesian Military Engineering Contingent carry a generator out of a classroom at the National School of Caracol, Haiti. U.S. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Alan B. Owens

Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 23 Seabees and U.S Marines from High Speed Vessel (HSV) 2 Swift partnered with an Indonesian army, navy and air force construction company to complete improvements on a school and dispensary in Caracol, Haiti, in February as part of HSV-Southern Partnership Station 2012.

“We are working with the Indonesians to make the school and dispensary better places for the community to learn and receive medical care,” said Staff Sgt. Garival Perez, Caracol dispensary project lead. “The work we are doing will really have an impact on the community here.”

The work at the National School of Caracol includes a roof replacement, structural repair to the support beams, a new concrete sidewalk and cosmetic improvements. The work is in conjunction with several UNICEF projects, increasing the school’s capacity for the future and improving current learning conditions for 7th-9th grade students.

At the Caracol dispensary, the work consists of a new secured storage shed, demolition and replacement of cabinets and shelving, installation of an incendiary pit and security wire, and new paint for the building. The improvements will increase the dispensary’s ability to store and maintain supplies, as well as provide sanitary medical care to the community.

“The entire mission of HSV-SPS 12 is to build partnerships,” said Lt. j.g. J.P. Henry, Seabee officer-in-charge. “With every stop, I am amazed at the impact Seabees, Marines, Sailors and partner engineers, like the Indonesians, can have on the community.”

The projects were budgeted for $43,000 and all supplies for the sites were purchased in Haiti, impacting a community of 14,000 people. The three-week construction ended with a closing ceremony attended by the U.S. and Indonesian engineers, and Haitian community members.

“Our work in Haiti demonstrates the need for strong, seamless partnerships,” said Cmdr. Garry Wright, HVS-SPS 12 mission commander. “This is the first visit by a U.S. ship to the northern side of Haiti, and the relationships we build will shape the way we work together in the future.”

Haiti is the last stop of the HSV-SPS 12 four-month mission, which included port visits in the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Panama and Peru. Southern Partnership Station is an annual deployment of U.S. ships to the U.S. Southern Command (USSOUTHCOM) area of responsibility in the Caribbean, Central and South America. The mission’s primary goal is information sharing with partner nation service members and civilians in the region.

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