NMCB 133 Conducts First-Ever Mission in Tajikistan

By Lt. Kyle Schlais, NMCB 133 Public Affairs

Photos by MC2 Derek R. Sanchez

BUCN Taylor Mendonca, NMCB 133, teaches a Tajik soldier how to shim cross slats while building a roof during an international relations project with the Tajik Army.

Seabees assigned to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 133 deployed to Dushanbe, Tajikistan, as part of a Global Peace Operations Initiative (GPOI), the first-ever Seabee mission in Tajikistan.

In support of the Office of Military Cooperation (OMC) and Tajikistan Ministry of Defense (MOD), the Seabee crew began construction alongside the MOD’s construction force, the Stroibat, Phase I of a $1 million project at the Peace Support Operation Training Center (PSOTC) at Shamsi Base, funded by GPOI.

To help boost the local economy and establish lasting relationships with contractors and vendors, the building materials were procured in nearby street vendor markets by Utilitiesman 1st Class Justin Walker, NMCB 133 project supervisor, and 1st Lt. Sunset Lo, Air Force contracting officer. The vendors delivered the materials ordered in a timely manner, enabling the project to move forward on schedule.

Seabees assigned to NMCB 133 work with the Tajik Army to rebuild, restore and remodel various buildings on Shamsi Military Base in Tajikistan.

Throughout Phase I, which included the construction of a new roof, English language lab classroom, kitchen renovations and electrical distribution repairs, the Seabees mentored 10 Stroibat soldiers, teaching them basic construction skills while building strong relationships through coordination with MOD Stroibat forces and communication with high-level Tajikistan military officers.

“Working with Stroibat has been a great experience,” said Builder Constructionman Xavier Knowlesball. “It has been educational working through language barrier challenges and I am honored to be a part of the crew.”

BUCN Xavier Knowlesball (right) and BUCN Taylor Mendonca, NMCB 133, search for obstructions before installing cross slats while building a roof during an international relations project with the Tajik Army. 

Construction Electrician Constructionman Hunter Kiser reflected a similar sentiment.

“It has been an awesome experience working with the local construction force,” said Kiser. “Their hospitality is amazing and made our visit to Dushanbe easy, allowing us to focus on the tasking.”

With the first phase scheduled to conclude in January, planning for the second phase has already begun.

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