By Builder 1st Class Alicia M. Baston, Navy Mobile Contruction Battalion 27 Public Affairs GUANTANAMO BAY, Cuba
Seabees from Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 27 volunteered in a “Transportation Day” event, sponsored by the W.T. Sampson School onboard Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, Cuba Nov. 9.
The school invited the Seabees and Emergency Services representatives to demonstrate their construction equipment to the young students.
The Seabees showed a strong presence at the event, bringing with them a tractor and trailer hauling a tracked excavator, a forklift, a loader, a grader and a backhoe. Equipment Operator 1st Class Christopher Bidwell spearheaded the organization of NMCB 27’s personnel and equipment, creating an excellent display of the unit’s capabilities.
Bidwell described how excited the Seabees were to show off their expertise and to enjoy the time with the children.
“Many of the individuals here have young children at home that they are missing,” said Bidwell. “Even these children not being their own, gave them a sense of happiness being around them.”
The children were allowed to get into the equipment as equipment operators and construction mechanics taught them how they work. Equipment Operator 1st Class Michael Hebb explained how to operate the grader and what its various levers do. Construction Mechanic 2nd Class Jeremy Garrett took a group of one and two-year olds and showed them the fork lift.
“It is a real joy to see how enthusiastic the Seabee’s are to volunteer their time,” said Bridget O’Connell, coordinator of Transportation Day. “It really makes a difference to the children. You could see how excited the children were as soon as they walked out of the building.”
The Seabees at NAVSTA GTMO are part of a larger group of Navy Reservists from NMCB 27, based out of Chicopee, Mass., who were recalled to active duty in July and deployed throughout South and Central America in support of U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command /U.S. 4th Fleet peacekeeping, multinational partnership, and humanitarian assistance missions.
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