By Lt. Caroline Mastrangelo, NMCB 4
BU3 Jennifer Casey, NMCB 4, displays a new Timorese flag over the Hera Community Center during the ribbon cutting and closing ceremony of exercise Hari’i Hamutuk, Port Hera Naval Base, East Timor, Nov. 7. NMCB 4 participated in the five-week tri-lateral exercise Hari’i Hamutuk where engineers and constructionmen from NMCB 4, U.S. Marine Corps 3rd Combat Assault Battalion, Fantil-Forças de Defesa de Timor Leste Combat Engineer Company and the Australian Combat Engineer Regiment worked together on several projects. Photos by CE3 Allam Laurance
Representatives from three countries gathered to celebrate the successful completion of exercise Hari’i Hamutuk, Hera, East Timor, Nov. 7. The name of the exercise, “Hari’i Hamutuk,” is Tetun for “Build Together,” and this was definitely true of the entire exercise.
Four units from different backgrounds, cultures and languages worked together to complete two major and five minor projects over the course of the five-week exercise, beginning on Oct. 6. The units included engineers from the Fantil-Forças de Defesa de Timor Leste (F-FDTL) Combat Engineer Company, the U.S. Marine Corps 3rd Combat Assault Battalion, the Australian Combat Engineer Regiment and Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 4.
U.S. Chargé D’Affairs Mrs. Katherine Dueholm, Deputy Australian Ambassador Mr. Toby Lendon and Timorese Vice Chief of Defense Force (VCDF) Brig. Gen. Filomeno Tirocinado da Paixao de Jesus attended the closing ceremony held at the F-FDTL Port Hera Naval Base and Hera Community Center. Paixao de Jesus commented on the strong relationships developed between the three countries and how the exercise will help lead to future interaction and engagements.
Brig. Gen. Filomeno Tirocinado da Paixao de Jesus (right), Timor vice chief of Defense Force, awards traditional Timorese tais to 2nd Lt. Michael Blochberger, U.S. Marine Corps 3rd Combat Assault Battalion; Lt. Caroline Mastrangelo, officer-in-charge, NMCB 4’s Civic Construction Action Detail Cambodia; and Sapper Ty Fergusion, Australian Combat Engineer Regiment, during the closing ceremony of the exercise Hari’i Hamutuk at Port Hera Naval Base, East Timor, Nov. 7.
Lendon and Paixao de Jesus cut the ribbon on two new 40-person accommodation blocks for the F-FDTL on Port Hera Naval Base, one of the major projects during the exercise. The accommodation blocks were completed by a crew comprised of all four units. The facility will provide needed barracks support to the F-FDTL Naval Port.
After the ribbon cutting, Paixao de Jesus honored the Seabee, Marine and Australian troop commanders with tais, a Timorese tradition, showing friendship and lasting relationship.
Ceremony attendees then moved to the second major project, a community center renovation for the Hera community.
At this project Dueholm and Paixao de Jesus cut the ribbon for the community center that will support the local village chief and community events. A Seabee led the major renovation, with a crew combined from all four units.
“Working with other countries was a good experience. Also, it was interesting to see how each of us does construction work,” said Builder 3rd Class Jennifer Casey, NMCB 4. “I really enjoyed the exercise and it was a highlight for me.”
Hari’i Hamutuk lived up to its name, both in respect to construction projects and in respect to military relationships. Due to the resounding success of the exercise it will continue as an annual event supporting military and community construction for years to come in Timor-Leste.
Brig. Gen. Filomeno Tirocinado da Paixao de Jesus (right), Timor vice chief of Defense Force, is accompanied by Mr. Toby Lendon (middle), deputy ambassador for Australia,to cut the ribbon on an Australian-led accommodation project during a ceremony at Port Hera Naval Base, East Timor, Nov. 7. NMCB 4 participated in the five-week tri-lateral exercise Hari’i Hamutuk, where engineers and constructionmen from fur units worked together on major and minor projects.