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Engineers Tap into Djibouti Water Solutions

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS071206-17
Release Date: 12/6/2007 4:35:00 PM

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class, Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa Public Affairs

CARTA, Djibouti (NNS) -- In a remote area, two hours away from Djibouti City, the Well Drillers of the 1132nd Engineering Detachment were visited by distinguished visitors who flew in on CH-53E Helicopters to see firsthand the work the well drillers are doing in Djibouti.

Vice Adm. Robert Moeller, deputy to the commander for Civil-Military Operations for U.S. Africa Command; Ambassador Mary Carlin Yates, deputy to the commander for Civil-Military Activities for U.S. Africa Command; Rear Adm. James Hart, Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa commander and Army Brig Gen. Sanford Holman, CJTF-HOA deputy commander stopped by Nov. 30 to meet the well drillers and learn more about their mission.

"It is a real pleasure for Ambassador Yates and I to have the opportunity to see some of the outstanding work that's being done under the auspices of CJTF-HOA," said Moeller. "This is exactly the kind of thing U.S. Africa Command hopes to replicate more broadly across the continent overall. Everyone should be proud of what they're doing and what it means to our African partners."

While in Carta, they were able to see the 530-foot well, which is still being developed, and that will service five villages that are within walking distance of the well site. Currently the villagers rely on a truck that brings in water from Djibouti City twice a day.

"We discussed many sites with the Djibouti Minister of Agriculture, but we agreed that this area had the highest priority because they don't have a place to go to get water right now," said Sgt. 1st Class William Brown, lead driller for the 1132nd Engineering Detachment well drillers. "Relying on a water truck means that if it breaks down or it can't get back for a few days, the villagers have to go without water for three or four days and that's just not good in a place like Djibouti, where water is an essential element of survival."

Yates, who has seen many wells drilled throughout Africa, was impressed with the well drillers and the rig that helps them drill through volcanic rock, which is why Djibouti is one of the most difficult places to drill in the world.

"I've been able to see a lot of Wells drilled throughout Africa and this is one of the most sophisticated rigs I've seen and I think the mind-set and commitment of the team here is a wonderful example that we hope to replicate throughout Africa," said Yates.

And for the well drillers, the visit was an opportunity to show that their mission is just as important as the others that take place throughout the CJTF-HOA area of operation.

"It's nice to show people that we're actually getting something done out here," said Brown. "There's a lot of important work going on around the Horn of Africa, but to us we're one of the most important missions because we're bringing a natural resource to a part of the world that really needs it. It's a great feeling to be a part of something that will positively impact the people who live nearby."

The well drillers are a part of the CJTF-HOA mission to prevent conflict, promote regional stability and protect coalition interest in order to prevail against extremism.



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