Seabees Partner with Colombian Engineers

By MC2 Brittney Cannady, CP-15 Public Affairs 

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Equipment Operator 1st Class William Travis, assigned to Construction Battalion Maintenance Unit 202 in Jacksonville, Fla., shovels dirt during construction of a new soccer field at an engineering site established at Cavana Primary School in support of Continuing Promise 2015. Continuing Promise is a U.S. Southern Command-sponsored and U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command/U.S. 4th Fleet-conducted deployment to conduct civil-military operations including humanitarian-civil assistance, subject matter expert exchanges, medical, dental, veterinary and engineering support and disaster response to partner nations and to show U.S. support and commitment to Central and South America and the Caribbean. (Photo by Pfc. Tomarius Roberts/150710-A-ZA034-030)

Navy Seabees embarked aboard the Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Comfort (T-AH 20) are partnering with members of the Colombian Navy to complete several engineering projects during the Continuing Promise 2015 (CP-15) mission stop in Colombia, July 8-19.

Sailors assigned to Construction Battalion Maintenance Unit (CBMU) 202, from Jacksonville, Florida, and Virginia Beach, Virginia, worked with Colombian military engineers to renovate and install new equipment at two local schools and a medical clinic in the cities of Juanchaco and Buenaventura. The work includes installing a drop ceiling and air conditioning units, and making electrical and plumbing repairs. Additionally, the team will assist with plans to construct a new soccer field.

“I’m truly thankful to share the experience and work together with the U.S. Navy,” said Colombian Navy Master Sgt. Juan Torres, an operations officer. “The mayor and citizens all appreciate the efforts made today by the Seabees.”

Utilitiesman 2nd Class Robert Jones, a CBMU 202 crew leader, said that Sailors are split between each site and paired with host-nation engineers who are trained with the same level of proficiency. “The enthusiasm for the improvement projects and for sharing of ideas on how to best complete the job was felt by all those involved,” added Jones.

“The host nation engineers and our team were all onboard to do what was needed to get the job done and learn from one another,” said Jones. “I was also able to teach a few guys how to make an elbow in a pipe by heating it up and bending it slightly. It’s all about the little things that help make the job easier.”

The Colombian engineers’ construction experience and knowledge contributed greatly to the projects, explained Equipment Operator 1st Class William Travis. While both groups of engineers possess a variety of skills, the collaboration and shared experience between both teams is what strengthens the working relationship, Travis explained.

“We’ve worked with the host nation engineers so closely, learning new techniques and methods. We were able to sharpen our own skills,” said Travis.

“The combined goal and mutual dedication to improve the schools and clinic for Colombian residents is an integral part of a successful partnership with Colombian engineers,” said Jones. “At the end of the day we may have different methods but the task is still the same, there is teamwork and goals in place to be able to get the job done, and we are doing that pretty well together,” he added.

Continuing Promise is a U.S. Southern Command-sponsored and U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command/U.S. 4th Fleet-conducted deployment to conduct civil-military operations including humanitarian-civil assistance, subject matter exchanges, medical, dental, veterinary and engineering support and disaster response to partner nations and to show the United States’ continued support and commitment to Central and South America and the Caribbean.

For more news from Continuing Promise, visit http://www.navy.mil/local/cp/.

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