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Seabees Complete Malaysia Classroom Project

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS080721-06
Release Date: 7/21/2008 4:38:00 PM

By Electronics Technician 3rd Class Andrew Brieno, Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 133 Public Affairs

KEMAMAN, Malaysia (NNS) -- Twenty-four Seabees from Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 133, working together with members of Malaysia's 91st Royal Construction Regiment, completed construction on a new school building in Kemaman, July 16.

The structure, at Sekolah Kebangsaan Kijal Primary School, was the result of an Engineering Civic Action Project (ENCAP) undertaken as part of Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) 2008.

The 24 Seabees of NMCB 133's Detachment CARAT arrived in Malaysia June 19 to begin work on their third ENCAP in a month. The Malaysia ENCAP was the first CARAT project they would start literally from the ground up. Seabees and Malaysian engineers worked together to complete site layout and prepare the ground for construction. The workers quickly overcame their language barrier and performed their tasks quickly and smoothly.

The demanding project was frequently complicated by challenging weather. The troops contended with extreme heat and humidity, almost daily rainfall, and high winds. Despite the hardships, the team worked through the challenges to complete construction three days ahead of schedule.

School staff will use the one-room facility as a multipurpose building for meetings and other special functions to help educate more than 950 students from four villages in the north Kemaman area.

Seeing the building at the ribbon-cutting ceremony, the Seabees gained a sense of satisfaction from their accomplishment.

"This was a great experience to come in here and start building on virgin ground," said Lt. Kenneth Sowell, NMCB 133 Detachment officer in charge. "It really allowed us to develop a good relationship with our counterparts and to start and finish together, resulting in a shared pride in our work."

CARAT is an annual series of bilateral exercises between the United States and several Southeast Asian countries designed to promote regional cooperation and operational readiness.

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