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NMCB 40 DFT Departs for Panama

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS050228-05
Release Date: 2/28/2005 10:41:00 AM

By Journalist 2nd Class Barbara Silkwood, Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 40 Public Affairs

OKINAWA, Japan (NNS) -- A group of 20 Seabees from Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 40 departed for Panama Feb. 20 in support of a Joint Task Force exercise, New Horizons 2005.

The deployment-for-training (DFT) personnel will remain in the province of Los Santos for the next three months, working in conjunction with more than 400 Reservists from the Air Force, Army and Marine Corps, as well as with Panamanian government agencies, to provide humanitarian construction and engineering operations for the nation of Panama.

"As a joint task force, we will be working side by side, sharing tools and equipment, probably sharing labor in some respects, and training each other at the same time, so this will be an interesting challenge," said Air Force Capt. Star Longo, the battalion's officer in charge of the DFT.

The joint task force mission in its entirety consists of six different projects. The Seabees, acting as the duration force throughout the exercise, will be responsible for the construction of a five-room community center in the neighboring town of Llano de Piedras.

"This will be among the most challenging of all the construction projects," Longo said.

Longo explained part of the difficulty of the project lies in the particular design of the building, which requires a different technique than traditional construction.

"The command sent the DFT's project supervisor and the crew leader to Chicago for a weekend to train specifically on this type of construction," Longo said.

Longo said he is fortunate to have the opportunity to participate in this mission, and he is looking forward to being able to do something good for the people of Panama.

"We saw a lot of the kids in the local village [where] we will be building the facilities and the community center for, and we saw the look in their eyes when we were talking to them and taking digital pictures of them, and they were so excited and interested in everything we did," he said. "It is going to be a great opportunity, and I think it is definitely going to be a career highlight."




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