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Seabees Welcomed to the Jungle

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS070817-15
Release Date: 8/17/2007 2:17:00 PM

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Paul D. Williams, USS Peleliu Public Affairs

JOSEPHSTAAL, Papua New Guinea (NNS) -- Seabees with Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 7 and Amphibious Construction Battalion (ACB) 1 disembarked an MH-53E Sea Dragon helicopter from the USS Peleliu (LHA 5) to take part in an engineering civil-assistance program in Josephstaal Aug. 8.

The two detachments from NMCB-7 and ACB-1, with the support of Peleliu, are part of the Pacific Partnership team of host nation partners, regional partners, and non-government organizations deployed this summer for a four-month humanitarian assistance mission.

The nine-day Josephstaal project includes remodeling and refurbishing three existing medical clinics, and installing a water collection system and drilling a well for the village of 9,000 people.

“This clinic completion will make it easier for the people of Josephstaal to receive medical care, because the roads to Madang are too dangerous,” said Cpl. Hezron Wangi, of the Papua New Guinea Defense Force. “This village is so remote that the people just go without medical care.”

Josephstaal is more than 50 miles from the coastline with no roads.

“We started to offload our gear and supplies when they [the villagers] all just grabbed a box and helped us carry it all to the job site,” said Steelworker 3rd Class Joseph Fleming with ACB-1.

This included boxes of water, meals ready-to-eat, construction tools and materials which were all carried about one kilometer to the project site.

“Everyone in the village has contributed, from the youngest person to the oldest, whether it is construction work or just bringing us fruit from the jungle in the mornings," said Hayes.

According to project leader Hull Maintenance Technician 2nd Class (SW) Joshua Hayes, the task is huge, but with the help of the Papua New Guinea Defense Force, the people of Josephstaal and a little Seabee “Can Do” spirit, the team can make a difference in the lives of the local populations.

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