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Seabees Epitomize Expeditionary During Remote Construction Project with Timor Defence Force

Navy News Service

Story Number: NNS140409-30
Release Date: 4/9/2014 10:41:00 PM

By Chief Mass Communications Specialist Kim Martinez, Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 1 Public Affairs

RAILACO, Timor Leste (NNS) -- Seabees from Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 1's Civic Construction Action Detail (CCAD) Timor Leste, are renovating a community health center in the Ermera district of Timor Leste as part of their 2014 Pacific deployment.

The CCAD Sailors, along with engineers from the Timor Leste Defence Force (F-FDTL), are conducting construction operations, ranging from masonry to plumbing, at the Railaco Health Post, which will serve roughly six thousand people in five villages.

Epitomizing the 'M' in NMCB, the Sailors are living at their jobsite while they work on the project, which is nestled in a remote spot in the mountains of East Timor, two hours from the city of Dili.

'The health post averages 20 patients per day and is the nearest health clinic in more than an hour's drive,' said Chief Builder Troy Ratliff, NMCB 1 CCAD Timor Leste assistant officer-in-charge. 'The health post will provide primary care, first aid, and pregnancy health services to thousands of people, so we are willing to do whatever it takes to ensure the project is successfully completed for those in need. The length of time that we will be camping out here is worth the value that the work we are doing will bring to this community.'

The remote territory and unique location of this project make it unique from many other Seabee projects where Sailors typically commute daily to the site. During the project, which is scheduled to be completed by May 12, 2014, the team of Seabees and Timor Defence Force Personnel will replace the building's roof, windows, doors, frames and build a new patient room.

'As the lead utilitiesman, I'm responsible for running a new waterline to the building and as well as installing new sinks and squat pans,' said Utilitiesman 2nd Class Sean McKenzie, NMCB 1 CCAD Timor Leste. 'It is very humbling and rewarding to be a part of this crew and I'm happy to help the community because it gives me a sense of pride and accomplishment.'

The construction projects the Seabees are assisting with were identified by the Timor Leste Ministry of Health as being essential to the country's infrastructure.

'We will be installing new trusses and placing a new roof on the building,' said Builder 2nd Class Jacob Byrne. 'We will also be adding a new patient room and a porch. All new electrical will be run throughout the facility. New windows and doors will be added and the exterior of the building be re-plastered and painted.'

The Seabees and F-FDTL have been working together on the Railaco Health Post and other projects since the start of the battalion's deployment in February 2014.

'Our work here will symbolize the partnership that both of our countries have with one another,' said Steelworker 3rd Class Jose Maquedaresendiz, NMCB 1 CCAD Timor Leste. 'For as long as this building lasts - 30, 40, 50 years - the residents of Timor will always remember the Seabees who built it.'

NMCB 1 provides combat-ready engineer forces in response to Combatant Commander and Naval Component Commander requirements and provides planning and operational support for Seabee employment. The continued operations in the Pacific Command help demonstrate the U.S. commitment to developing enduring relationships, and strengthening local institutions and communities throughout the region. At U.S. locations, Seabees will perform missions to prepare for disaster support and civic assistance missions.

NMCB 1 is homeported out of Gulfport, Miss. and has 13 global details deployed throughout the United States and Pacific area of operations in Japan, Korea, Diego Garcia, Cambodia, Philippines, Timor Leste and Guam.

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