NMCB 1 Making a Difference in West Africa

Story and photos courtesy of NMCB 1

During a break from a construction project in the Totsi District of Lome, Togo, CMCN(SCW) Jose Argueta, NMCB 1, helps teach local children how to read during Africa Partership Station 2012.

Seabees assigned to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 1 Detail Togo recently completed a special construction mission with host nation military engineers in the Totsi District of Lome, Togo, as part of African Partnership Station (APS) 2012.

The APS mission is to conduct theater security cooperation through a continuum of activities designed to advance maritime security in Africa. Combined Task Force 68 and NMCB 1 are supporting this effort using a task-tailored detachment to contribute to the economic prosperity and security on land through humanitarian civil assistance projects with the host nation military engineers.

The Seabees’ work related to the APS mission marked the end of a six-week humanitarian civil assistance project involving the renovation of a local school compound in Lome, Togo. NMCB 1, along with Togo military engineers, renovated three classroom buildings using locally procured materials.

The impact the team made at the school is clear. The failing roof and roof support system has been replaced with new construction including translucent roof panels which bring much-needed light to the classrooms with no additional operation or maintenance costs to the school. A new electrical system with fans and lights was installed in the primary school building and will keep the classrooms cool during the day and lit for evening classes. The exposed block building walls were patched with plaster and then given a skim coat before painting which sealed the school and brightened the compound.

In addition, the Seabees and their partners had a little extra time and materials to make other improvements as well. They repainted the blackboards and plastered the classrooms of the main school building, and created a shade structure where lunch is now served to the students.

“This type of mission is why I joined the Seabees,” said Builder 3rd Class (SCW) Joshua Stephens. “The humanitarian projects have a direct impact on those who need them.”

With the mission in Lome complete, the Seabees of NMCB 1‚ Detail Togo moved on to a school renovation in the neighboring country of Benin — on an even tighter schedule and in a more challenging environment.


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