By BUC Jonathan D. Eisfelder, NMCB 40
EOCN Aaron Lynch (center), NMCB 40, lays floor tile with members from the Cambodian army during an engineering civic action project at Kampung Kreng Health Center, Sihanoukville, Cambodia, Aug. 6, during Pacific Partnership.Photo by Kristopher Radder
Seabees assigned to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 40 played a major role during Pacific Partnership 2012, a yearly humanitarian exercise designed to help countries prepare for natural disasters and build bonds required to accomplish the mission.
The Seabees worked on the island of Talaud, Indonesia, near the Philippine Islands. They constructed two new block buildings designed as an emergency room (ER) and a pharmacy. They also rehabilitated the dilapidated facilities that 37 staff members use to administer medical support to thousands of local residents.
“The prior facilities that were being used as the ER just weren’t suitable for emergencies,” said Dr. Yanny Sasube, head doctor of the Puskesmas clinic, “especially since most cases were vehicle-related and usually patients arrive in twos and threes, needing lots of room to properly care for them.”
NMCB 40, the Australian Defense Force and the Indonesian Army worked hand-in-hand to install 40 new light fixtures, replace 6,000 square feet of drywall, outfit 27 doors with hardware, fix four toilets and replace the plumbing system to deliver fresh water.
“It is really exciting for us to be using our skills to help people who are not able to do it themselves,” said Engineering Aide 3rd Class Kyle Jeffreys, NMCB 40. “I would like to keep doing these types of missions.”
Seabees also helped repair the local elementary school in Beo. The students had no running water except for a 30-foot well and a bucket on a rope. Utilitiesman 2nd Class Michael Stahl, NMCB 40, directed a crew of six to construct a 15-foot steel tower to support a 250-gallon water tank and install a new water pump with 300 linear feet of PVC pipe. By the time the project was complete, the school had running water for two toilets, four sinks and two exterior water sources. The crew also installed a French drain below the sinks to help disperse the used water to prevent a future health risk.