Story by: Equipment Operator 2nd Class Matthew Blyth, NMCB 11
Seabees assigned to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 11, Detachment Cameroon, sift sand for the production of mortar, to lay block walls for multipurpose building in Douala, Cameroon, on August 24. 2016, during a summer deployment to Central Africa. (Photo by Builder 3rd Class Elizabeth Poplin/160824-N-SH670-075)
CENTRAL AFRICA (NNS) — When Construction Electrician Second Class Alejandro Villanuevamascote found out he was mobilizing for active duty, he wondered if his construction skills would be ready for the tasking.
Although he recently celebrated his 7th anniversary in the Navy Reserve with the Seabees, he had never spent more than a few months on active duty. Also, with his civilian career as a medical assistant and pharmacy technician, Villanuevamascote found it difficult to keep his construction skills up to date. Fortunately, he turned out to be exactly the right Seabee for the job.
Petty Officer Villanuevamascote spent most of spring 2016 receiving training in Gulfport, Mississippi with Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 11, to brush up on his construction skills before he deployed in August. As part of a small Seabee detail, he provided timely construction support to U.S. advisors and partner forces in Central Africa. He found his electrical skills in high demand, especially his newly acquired solar power installer certification.
A recent trip to a small town in Central Africa also revealed how useful his civilian skills were to the military mission. For an entire week, after finishing his daily construction tasking, Villanuevamascote volunteered all his spare time assisting U.S. Army medics in the treatment of local villagers. His efforts allowed the four Army medics and one doctor to spend more time on critical cases. He quickly proved he was capable of managing multiple patients and made a significant impact on U.S. efforts to support the local population.
“He’s a rock-star,” raved one U.S. Army medic when asked about Villanuevamascote’s contributions.
Villanuevamascote helped in the treatment of cuts, lacerations, burns, and broken bones, assisted in the debridement and dressing of two villagers who were bitten by crocodiles and ran routine testing for endemic diseases. Overall, he assisted with the treatment of more than 100 patients in one short week.
Villanuevamoscote has since moved to a different location to work on other construction projects, but will be taking with him a suitcase of new life lessons.
He reflected that, “It is truly fulfilling to see how everyday knowledge and experiences gained from my civilian life can help so many people.”