News: Seabees work with Bosnia, Herzegovina to build better tomorrow
Story by Staff Sgt. Daryl Knee
MOSTAR, Bosnia and Herzegovina - U.S. Navy construction workers are integrating with the Bosnian-Herzegovinian military to build a fence around the military complex here and renovate a neighboring city's school and school annex in support of Shared Resilience 2012 May 28 - June 8.
Sailors of the Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 3 from Port Hueneme, Calif., have been working in Bosnia-Herzegovina since April 25 to prepare the military compound's fence to meet force protection requirements for the participants of SR12.
The construction battalion, or Seabees, began the school renovation project in Mostar when they neared completion of the fence line. However, the two nations' construction teams have different building methods. The Seabees observed how the host nation performed construction, worked past the language barrier and integrated into a joint construction team.
The school houses students from kindergarten to eighth grade, and the annex is for kindergarten to fourth grade.
"These schools have been here a while," said U.S. Navy Petty Officer 1st Class James Marquez, NMCB 3 and native of Olympia, Wash. "There have been generations and generations of students going through these two buildings, and it feels good to know that I've been part of the team to make this a better place."
The upgrades to the school included the installation of new doors frames, doors and more than 100 energy efficient windows. The construction workers also improved the outer wall's insulation. The school annex received a complete overhaul, which included the addition of two classrooms.
"We had a chance to help the civilian populace," said Bosnian-Herzegovinian army Brig. Gen. Ivica Jerkic, SR12 co-director. "In the future, we're going to continue our efforts to do so."
The reason for the assured success of the construction projects is the cooperation between the U.S. and Bosnian-Herzegovinian militaries, said U.S. Navy Chief Petty Officer James Davenport, NMCB 3 and project assistant officer in charge. The undertakings will be completed well and on schedule due to the efforts of the host nation's military.
"It was our project, but we're giving it to them," Davenport continued. "Once we started working together, the Bosnians-Herzegovinians had a vested interest — a personal pride in their accomplishments. It's no longer, 'You do your own thing, and we'll do ours.' We're working together to build a better school for the children."
The school construction project is slated for a completion date in mid July.
NMCB 3 is an expeditionary naval construction element currently assigned to U.S. Naval Forces Europe 6th Fleet's Task Force 68 to provide construction, engineering and security services that support national strategy, naval power projection, humanitarian assistance and contingency operations.