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Homeland Security

NMCB 40 Builds Tent City for FEMA, Parish

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS050930-02
Release Date: 9/30/2005 10:00:00 AM

By Journalist 1st Class (SCW/SS) James G. Pinsky, Navy News Service

PLAQUEMINE PARISH, La. (NNS) -- Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 40 built a 500-man tent city in September for Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) officials in Plaquemine Parish so the officials could relocate from temporary accommodations at Belle Chasse Primary School.

The tent city, which includes air conditioned tents, showers and a 40 ft. by 60 ft. dining facility, will allow FEMA to conduct their day-to-day operations while Belle Chasse Primary School concentrates on getting their students back in class.

“Disaster recovery is part of our job,” said Steelworker 1st Class (SCW) James Reddinger, project crew leader. “And we know by helping FEMA, we’re helping a lot of other people. FEMA helps everybody, so this is a good project for us.”

The Seabees have found the hurricane relief efforts challenging in that most of their project planning has been on short notice, and Louisiana’s heat is a lot different than that of southern California, where the battalion is based.

“Out here we’ve had to do a lot of thinking on our feet,” said Reddinger. “Things change day to day and minute to minute. But the hardest part of being here has been the heat. It takes a lot out of our people just because we’re not used to it.”

Constant changes and humid conditions aside, the Seabees are glad they’re here.

“We’re a lot more motivated to be here now that we’re out of the debris-clearing business. What we really love is working directly with the people who were affected by the hurricane.”

The Seabees' work ethic and dedication to duty has left a strong impression on civilian contractors who work directly with the Seabees.

“These guys are good at what they do,” said Randy Hinton, a tent contractor. “They are willing to do whatever it takes to get the job done. It’s very inspiring.”

While the Seabees' "Can Do" spirit serves to inspire others, what motivates the Seabees most of all is being able to see the people their work affects.

“It warms our hearts to not only help people like we are here, but to be able to meet the people we’re helping and see their gratitude,” said Reddinger. “Because their gratitude is the best reward we could ever ask for.”

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