News: NMCB 3 Timor-Leste CCAD teach English to local Timorese
DILI, East Timor - Seabees from Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 3’s Civic Construction Action Detail (CCAD) in Timor-Leste volunteered their time Aug. 10, teaching English to students at the Universidade Nacional Timor Lorosa'e.
The class, run by Mr. Greg Fergin, husband of U.S. Ambassador to Timor-Leste Judith Fergin, meets weekly on the university’s campus.
Seabees assisted Fergin by separating the students in groups to perform two-hour exercises covering topical conversations, sentence building techniques and how to develop a story based on a series of pictures.
According to Fergin, this gave the students more one-on-one interaction and helped them learn more efficiently.
"There is an inexhaustible demand of Timorese people wanting to learn English,” said Fergin who has managed the English program for more than two years. "Seeing students succeeding is my satisfaction."
The class is provided at no cost using an all-volunteer instructing staff and is open to anyone.
"Seabees make a great contribution to Timor,” said Fergin. “They help show the Timorese how a military unit can contribute to civil affairs and be great ambassadors. We always need teachers, and the Seabees are great because the students get to hear different accents and gain exposure to a variety of cultures which enhances their learning experience."
Students varied in their ability to speak English but all were eager to improve. One of the students, Akito Fransisco de Jesus Ximenes, attends the class each week, so he can be granted a scholarship to the United States.
“Speaking English well is an important part to getting a scholarship," said Ximenes. "Seabees are very good to volunteer.”
The opportunity to help the CCAD’s host nation served as half the reason Seabees such as Builder 3rd Class volunteered their time.
"I volunteer because I love to help others, but also because every time I go, I learn something new about the Timorese people and their culture,” said Rego. “I can't help but want to know more."
The CCAD’s mission is to execute engineering civic assistance projects, conduct formal training with the host nation and perform community relations events to help enhance shared capabilities and improve the country’s social welfare.
One of the first battalions commissioned during World War II, NMCB 3’s legacy stands strong in its ability to build and fight anywhere in the world as either a full battalion or as a group of autonomous detachments, simultaneously completing critical engineering and construction missions.
For this deployment, NMCB 3 has split into 9 details to perform critical construction projects in remote island areas such as Timor-Leste, Tonga, Cambodia and the Philippines. The teams will also conduct operations in Atsugi, Yokosuka and Okinawa, Japan; Chinhae, Republic of Korea and China Lake, CA.
The Naval Construction Force is a vital component of the U.S. Maritime Strategy. They provide deployable battalions capable of providing disaster preparation and recovery support, humanitarian assistance and combat operations support. NMCB 3 provides combatant commanders and Navy component commanders with combat-ready warfighters capable of general engineering, construction and limited combat engineering across the full range of military operations.