Story by MC1 Nathan Carpenter, Commander, Logistics Group Western Pacific
KUCHING, Malaysia – Malaysian Armed Forces and Amphibious Construction Battalion One (ACB 1) are working to rebuild Tanah Puteh Elementary School’s water tanks and distribution system as part of Pacific Partnership 2019 (PP19).
The project benefits the students and faculty and will also help the surrounding community since the facility serves as an evacuation center in the event of a natural disaster.
“It’s great to see the work that they’re doing today,” said Capt. Randy Van Rossum, PP19 Mission Commander. “It ties right in with the overall mission of building resiliency for humanitarian assistance.”
The goal of the project is to replace damaged water towers and restore running water to the building.
“Before, people had to go outside to get water and carry it in,” said Construction Electrician 2nd Class Trevor Wood. “During a natural disaster, it might not be safe to go outside, but everyone still needs water to survive. Now they can get it from a tap.”
The value of the work goes much deeper than the repaired water system. By working together side-by-side, U.S. and Malaysian militaries can improve their cooperation and expand their skills.
“This is a great way to exchange knowledge,” said Malaysian Army Kpl. Roysien Ak Bayang. “Not everyone has the same way of constructing things. We learn a lot from each other.”
“Communication can be a challenge since we don’t all speak the same language,” said Steelworker Constructionman Tywon Begger, “But we quickly find different ways to work together and come together as a team to get things done.”
Strengthening teamwork and enabling resilience are critical elements when preparing to respond to crises in the region. Working together enables a smooth and effective reaction to any natural disaster that may occour.
“It’s great to see the Malaysian Armed Forces working alongside our Seebees,” said Van Rossum. “They’re really going to make a difference for the community.”
Pacific Partnership, now in its 14th iteration, is the largest annual multinational humanitarian assistance and disaster relief preparedness mission conducted in the Indo-Pacific. Each year, the mission team works collectively with host and partner nations to enhance regional interoperability and disaster response capabilities, increase stability and security in the region, and foster new and enduring friendships across the Indo-Pacific.