Story by MC2 Kelsey Adams, Commander, Logistics Group Western Pacific
CHON BURI PROVINCE, Thailand – U.S. Navy Sailors, assigned to Amphibious Construction Battalion (ACB) 1, along with their partner nation counterparts from the Royal Thai Armed Forces conducted a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the completion of the restroom facility at the Ban Mabfugthong School during Pacific Partnership, May 25.
For the past month, the U.S. Navy Seabees have worked alongside Thai engineers at the Ban Mabfugthong School to construct a new four-stall facility for students and faculty to use in addition to improving the school as venue for local community gatherings. It also improves the capacity for the school as an evacuation site in the event of a natural disaster, a key theme of Pacific Partnership.
“Pacific Partnership’s mission is about building different things and learning from one another,” said Rear Adm. Joey Tynch III, commander, Task Force 73.
“Both were accomplished here at this site, but the most important thing that occurred here at this school were the relationships that were made between the U.S. servicemembers, their Thai counterparts in the Royal Thai Armed forces and members of the local community.”
The construction project holds special meaning for Tynch because his great uncle was assigned to ACB-1 in the past, the U.S. Navy unit that made up half this project’s construction team.
“This group of Sailors assigned to ACB-1 have a motto that I think everyone here, including our Thai counterparts, can relate to,” said Tynch. “Their motto is ‘can do’ and everyone here has certainly lived up to that motto. In the heat and in the rain these young men and women have built structures, learned construction techniques from one another and developed lasting friendships.”
The Ban Mabfugthong School was built almost 75 years ago and stands on land that was donated by the community. The addition of the bathroom facility will be critical in the continued growth of the school and the community.
“I am sure that this facility will be very useful for the students and also the people here,” said Maj. Gen. Thitichai Tiantong, directorate of joint operations at the Royal Thai Armed Forces Headquarters. “I would like to say thank you to everyone for all the effort you put into this project. It has been a really great thing to be a part of, one of the best times of my life.”
Pacific Partnership, now in its 14th iteration, is the largest annual multinational humanitarian assistance and disaster 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.