By MC1 Michael Gomez, NMCB 3 Public Affairs
Karen Stanton, U.S. ambassador to Timor-Leste, makes brief remarks prior to the ribbon-cutting ceremony at Hera Health Post, Timor-Leste, Nov. 5. The ceremony was held to commemorate the completion of construction for Exercise Hari’i Hamutuk. (Photo by MC1 Michael Gomez/151105-N-YG415-049)
Seabees from Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 3 marked the end of construction for Exercise Hari’i Hamutuk with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at Hera Naval Base and Hera Health Post, Timor-Leste, Nov. 5.
Representatives from Timor-Leste, Australia, Japan and the U.S., celebrated the successful completion of the projects, including two classrooms, a restroom facility, burn pit and upgrades to a health post, among other projects.
“Hari’i Hamutuk,” Tetun for “build together,” is a multilateral exercise designed to increase interoperability between Seabees, U.S. Marine Corps combat engineers, Japan Ground Self Defense Force, Royal Australian engineers and engineers from the Timor-Leste Defense Force (Fantil-Forças de Defesa de Timor Leste, F-FDTL).
“With Exercise Hari’i Hamutuk, we have improved the capabilities of our four militaries to work together to respond to humanitarian relief activities,” said Karen Stanton, U.S. ambassador to Timor-Leste. “This enhancement of our joint and combined capabilities will benefit Timor-Leste and the region. Through this exercise we have built the friendships and professional relationships that will enable us to respond together more quickly and effectively to emergency demands.”
Engineers from the F-FDTL Combat Engineer Company, Marine Corps 3rd Combat Assault Battalion, Australian Combat Engineer Regiment, Japanese Ground Self Defense Force and NMCB 3 worked together on the projects. A total of 99 personnel participated in the exercise.
Regardless of the different backgrounds, cultures and languages, the units completed three major projects and various minor projects over the course of the 30-day exercise, which began Oct. 5.
“We enjoyed working together with military members from different countries,” said Builder 1st Class Perry McCombs, NMCB 3. “We learned a lot from each other, especially the different traits and styles of craftsmanship.”
The teams completed a school house, an outside bathroom and storage facility; built a wooden lectern, small storage warehouse and burn pit; repaired and resized a soccer field at Hera Naval Base; and built a protective security fence around the Hera Health Post grounds.
The new facilities will enhance the infrastructure of the Hera Naval Base, Metinaro Military Base and the Hera community.
“I’ve never done anything like that before – it was a great experience,” said Builder 3rd Class John Skoblicki, NMCB 3. “I would love to do it again.”
Apart from Exercise Hari’i Hamutuk, Seabees from NMCB 3 deployed to Timor-Leste to execute engineering civic assistance projects, conduct formal training with the host nation and perform community relations events to help enhance shared capabilities.
NMCB 3 is deployed throughout the Pacific performing critical construction projects in remote areas such as Timor-Leste, Cambodia and the Philippines. The teams are also conducting operations in Yokosuka, Sasebo, Fuji and Okinawa, Japan; Chinhae, Republic of Korea; and San Clemente, Calif.
NMCB 3 provides combatant commanders and Navy component commanders with combat-ready war fighters capable of general engineering, construction and limited combat engineering across the full range of military operations.