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Navy Seabees Volunteer while Deployed in Peru

Navy News Service

Story Number: NNS121012-21

By Lt. Kevin Keenaghan, Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 27 Public Affairs

HUAYTARA, Peru (NNS) -- During military deployments, many troops use their off-duty time to get some well-deserved rest and relaxation. For three U.S. Navy Seabees deployed to Huaytará Peru, they volunteered their off time to repair the town's fountain.

The Seabees, U.S. Navy Sailors who specialize in construction, were recently deployed to the town of Huaytará, Peru, as part of a U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command/U.S. 4th Fleet sponsored subject matter expert exchange with Peruvian military engineers. They are working alongside the Peruvian team to help construct a school auditorium for the town. The auditorium project was developed as part of a larger cooperative military exercise between the United States and Peruvian governments.

Huaytará's water fountain is an important part of the town's culture and had been previously used for gatherings and festivals, but hadn't worked for a number of years. After being told about the problem the Seabees chose to offer some of their evenings after work to help repair it in order to commemorate the town's anniversary. Along the way they removed existing faulty and dangerous wiring, applied new sealant and spackle, and gave the fountain a fresh coat of paint.

"The fountain was a great project that meant a lot to this community," said Builder 2nd class Jorge Gaitan. "I appreciate the opportunity to be part of the team working on this."

Construction Electrician 1st class Daniel Johnson, who spearheaded the fountain project, echoed that sentiment saying "It's a great feeling working on this project for which the community is so grateful."

The community support is a testament to the warm reception that the Seabees received while working on the auditorium project.

"The fountain renovation was a great thing to do for a town that has been so receptive towards us while we have been working here in Huaytará," said Chief Builder Glenn Kohles, who is in charge of the Seabees in Huaytará. "It made a difference in this town and left a great feeling towards Seabees."

"Community projects like this one help develop strong friendships with our partner nations," said Navy Rear Adm. Sinclair Harris, commander of U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command and the U.S. 4th Fleet. "The work these Seabees performed is right in line with our mission to foster and sustain cooperative relationships with international partners."

Miguel Ángel Nacari Conislla, mayor of Huaytará Province, conveyed his gratitude for the work on the fountain and its significance to the town. "On behalf of the Province of Huaytará, and myself, I express my sincere thanks and appreciation for having the Seabees support in the restoration of our town fountain it has enhanced our city and the pleasure of our visitors and population in general."

The volunteer work on the fountain earned the Seabees and their Peruvian counterparts a guided tour of nearby Incan ruins, personally led by Huaytará's town historian.

The Seabees in Peru are part of a larger group of Navy Reservists from Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 27, based out of Chicopee, Massachusetts, who were recalled to active duty in July of this year and deployed throughout South and Central America in support of the Navy's peacekeeping, multinational partnership, and humanitarian assistance missions.

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