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NMCB 4 ‘Bees Build School Facility and Relationships in Cambodia

By CE3 Kevin Bhirdo, NMCB 4

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Ms. Chheng Phat, school director, Samdech Chea Sim Primary School, provides the final cut to the ribbon during a ceremony, Oct. 2, that marked the official turnover of a five-stall head facility constructed for the school by NMCB 4’s Detail Cambodia in Sihanoukville, Cambodia. Photos by EO3 Alexander Balaoing

Seabees from Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 4 Detail Cambodia conducted a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Samdech Chea Sim Primary School, Sihanoukville, Cambodia, Oct. 2.

The ceremony marked the official turnover of a newly constructed, five-stall head facility to the local school that serves grades one through six.

More than 100 people were on hand to celebrate and several VIP guests participated in the ceremony. Guests included Mr. Ing Brunner, Chief of Ministry of Education, Sihanoukville Province; Ms. Chheng Phat, school director, Samdech Chea Sim Primary School; and Ens. Mike Guaigua, NMCB 4 liaison officer, U.S. Embassy in Cambodia.

The ceremony included a performance by the school’s band, remarks by VIPs in attendance and a traditional ribbon-cutting by the school director. Students, teachers and members of the larger community attended the event which garnered significant local interest through newspaper and news channel coverage.

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BUCN Vivian Wilson, NMCB 4 Detail Cambodia, hands out book bags with school supplies donated by the U.S. Embassy Office of Defense Cooperation to local students during a ribbon-cutting ceremony at Samdech Chea Sim Primary School, Sihanoukville, Cambodia, Oct. 2. 

At the conclusion of the ceremony, Seabees distributed toys, backpacks and school supplies to the students. Supplies were donated by the U.S. Embassy Office of Defense Cooperation.

Students were given a choice of school supplies or toys. Most students opted to receive school supplies, a choice that demonstrated commitment to education and left a lasting impression on the Seabees.

“I can appreciate the fact that these kids prefer school supplies over the toys,” said Construction Mechanic 2nd Class Jason Lowe, crew member, NMCB 4.

The school was grateful for the efforts of the detail throughout the construction of the facility. And, the relationships built at the school will be remembered by both Seabees and locals for the rest of their lives.

“We’re going to miss the kids here,” said Engineering Aide Constructionman Thomas Latimer, crew member, NMCB 4. “In homeport [we practice] construction of buildings and never [practice] the building relationships. But after spending time with these kids it really makes our mission more satisfying.”

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BUCN Robert Berry, NMCB 4 Detail Cambodia, distributes book bags with school supplies to local students during a ribbon-cutting ceremony at Samdech Chea Sim Primary School, Sihanoukville, Cambodia, Oct. 2. The U.S. Embassy Office of Defense Cooperation donated the school supplies. 

The $20,000 project was completed on Sep. 24, and only took the 23-person detail 1½ months to finish.

“I’m incredibly proud of the efforts of the detail during the past month and a half,” said Lt. j.g. Joseph DeMarzo, officer-in-charge of the detail, NMCB 4. “They have completed a facility that they should be proud of and will admirably serve the school and its student body. Their resolve and dedication to the mission has been nothing short of incredible and I look forward to continuing on to our next projects with that level of motivation.”

The detail will move to a new province to continue its construction efforts in support of the 30th Naval Construction Regiment and the U.S. Embassy during deployment.

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EO3 Tausilia Amoa, NMCB 4 Detail Cambodia, provides a book bag with school supplies to a local student during a ribbon-cutting ceremony, Oct. 2, that marked the official turnover of a five-stall head facility constructed by the battalion for Samdech Chea Sim Primary School, Sihanoukville, Cambodia. The supplies were donated by the U.S. Embassy Office of Defense Cooperation.


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