Seabees Build Friendships in Marshall Islands

By MC1 Brannon Deugan, NMCB 1 


BU3 Justin Weeks, NMCB 1, chips block on a project in the southern end of U.S. Garrison on Kwajalein Atoll (USAG-KA), Republic of Marshall Islands, Nov. 14. NMCB 1 collaborated with the USAG-KA Public Works Department on the construction of shower and restroom facilities for Marshallese workers of Kwajalein Atoll. (Photo by HM2 Isaac P. Cajinas/151114-N-ZZ999-015)

Seabees assigned to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 1 and Marshallese construction workers constructed a washroom facility in Kwajalein, Marshall Islands, Nov. 20.

The previous outdoor facility where local Marshallese washed after a long day of work in a local landfill was upgraded by NMCB 1 with a block building that will provide showers, restrooms, and a washer and dryer area.

“This project is a morale booster for the Marshallese workers,” said Lt. j.g. Cory Devonis, NMCB 1 officer in charge, Marshall Islands. “The existing shower is an outdoor faucet where local Marshallese bathe and wash in the local landfill…This facility allows the locals to wash up [in modern facilities] before heading home, as well as provides washer and dryer services and restroom facilities.”

NMCB 1 has been working hand-in-hand with the local Marshallese people on the project that began as a concrete placement, and then developed into a building with a roof, walls and a solid foundation.

“This is my first time working with military construction,” said Joel Aldea, lead carpenter, NMCB 1, and native of Manila, Philippines. “I have a good time talking to these guys. They work hard and are very polite to everyone.”

According to Builder 2nd Class Bryan A. Peter, NMCB 1, this is a unique and fulfilling project due to the work performed with the local Marshallese.

“We joke, work and laugh together,” Peter said. “This is also a great site; I have learned a lot and flexed my skills.”

NMCB 1 is a Seabee battalion that specializes in contingency construction, disaster response and humanitarian assistance. The battalion’s homeport is in Gulfport, Miss.

The Naval Construction Force is a vital component of the U.S. Maritime Strategy. It offers deployable battalions capable of providing contingency construction, disaster preparation and recovery support, humanitarian assistance and combat operations support.

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