Seabees Epitomize What the ‘M’ in NMCB Stands For

By MCC Kim Martinez, NMCB 1 Public Affairs 

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Seabees from NMCB 1, CCAD Timor Leste construct the Railaco Leten Health Clinic with members of the Federal Forces Defense Timor Leste. Photo by SW3 Amanda Reed

Seabees from Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 1’s Civic Construction Action Detail (CCAD) Timor Leste are renovating a community health center in the Ermera district of Timor Leste as part of their 2014 Pacific deployment.

The CCAD Seabees, along with engineers from the Timor Leste Defense Force (F-FDTL), are conducting construction operations, ranging from masonry to plumbing, at the Railaco Health Post, which will serve roughly 6,000 people in five villages.

Epitomizing the “M” in NMCB, the ‘Bees live at their jobsite while they work on the project, which is nestled in a remote spot in the mountains of East Timor, two hours from the city of Dili.

“The health post averages 20 patients per day and is the nearest health clinic in more than an hour’s drive,” said Chief Builder Troy Ratliff, NMCB 1 CCAD Timor Leste assistant officer-in-charge. “[It] will provide primary care, first aid and pregnancy health services to thousands of people, so we are willing to do whatever it takes to ensure the project is successfully completed for those in need.”

The remote territory and unique location of this project make it different from many other Seabee projects where Sailors typically commute daily to the site. During the project, which is scheduled to be completed by May 12, 2014, the team of Seabees and Timor Defence Force personnel will replace the building’s roof, windows, doors and frames, and build a new patient room.

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Seabees from NMCB 1, CCAD Timor Leste construct the Railaco Leten Health Clinic with members of the Federal Forces Defense Timor Leste. Photo by SW3 Amanda Reed

“As the lead utilitiesman, I’m responsible for running a new waterline to the building, as well as installing new sinks and squat pans,” said Utilitiesman 2nd Class Sean McKenzie, NMCB 1 CCAD Timor Leste. “It is very humbling and rewarding to be a part of this crew and I’m happy to help the community because it gives me a sense of pride and accomplishment.”

The construction projects the Seabees are assisting with were identified by the Timor Leste Ministry of Health as being essential to the country’s infrastructure.

“We will be installing new trusses and placing a new roof on the building,” said Builder 2nd Class Jacob Byrne. “We will also be adding a new patient room and a porch. All new electrical will be run throughout the facility. New windows and doors will be added and the exterior of the building be re-plastered and painted.”

The Seabees and F-FDTL have been working together on the Railaco Health Post and other projects since the start of the battalion’s deployment in February 2014.

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UT2 Sean McKenzie, NMCB 1, CCAD Timor Leste, works with a member of the Federal Defense Force Timor Leste to install a new waterline while constructing the Railaco Leten Health Clinic. Photo by SW3 Amanda Reed

“Our work here will symbolize the partnership that both of our countries have with one another,” said Steelworker 3rd Class Jose Maquedaresendiz, NMCB 1 CCAD Timor Leste. “For as long as this building lasts – 30, 40, 50 years – the residents of Timor will always remember the Seabees who built it.”

NMCB 1 provides combat-ready engineer forces in response to Combatant Commander and Naval Component Commander requirements, and provides planning and operational support for Seabee employment. The continued operations in the Pacific Command help demonstrate the U.S. commitment to developing enduring relationships, and strengthening local institutions and communities throughout the region. At U.S. locations, Seabees perform missions to prepare for disaster support and civic assistance. NMCB 1 is homeported out of Gulfport, Miss., and has 13 global details deployed throughout the United States and Pacific area of operations in Japan, Korea, Diego Garcia, Cambodia, Philippines, Timor Leste and Guam.

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