News: NMCB 3 Seabees, F-FDTL Engineers increase interoperability, improve Timorese Maternity Clinic
MANATUTO, Timor-Leste – Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 3 Civic Construction Action Detail (CCAD) Timor-Leste teamed up with the Timor-Leste Defense Force (F-FDTL) engineers to conduct critical repairs at the Manatuto Maternity Clinic, located 70 miles east of Dili, Timor-Leste’s capital city, Sept. 7-9.
Working in conjunction with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), three NMCB 3 Seabees joined two F-FDTL engineers to perform repairs both essential to saving newborn babies’ lives, and protect the clinic’s patients and health care providers.
“Working with the F-FDTL through our partnership with USAID, shows the Timorese that we are here because we care,” said NMCB 3 CCAD Assistant Officer-in-Charge Chief Utilitiesman Miguel Fernandez. “We want to see Timor-Leste prosper as a nation.”
During the three days, the volunteers repaired a three-way electrical knob, allowing the clinic to switch from municipal power to a standby generator during frequent electrical outages; rerouted a well pump’s electrical circuit to allow access to a secondary source of fresh water, repaired eight light fixtures, corrected multiple bathroom plumbing problems, installed window screens and corrected a severe issue with the clinic’s water pressure.
The opportunity to help also allowed NMCB 3 to share lasting professional skills with the F-FDTL engineers – a core part of the CCAD’s mission.
"I want to learn how to become a better plumber, so I will be able to help my people” said F-FDTL Soldier Domingo Caldas who was instrumental in correcting the clinic’s water pressure. “I learned a lot working with the Americans, and they also learned a lot from us."
According to NMCB 3’s Construction Electrician Constructionman Choike Richards, the time spent interacting with Timorese engineers and clinic workers helped him realize the benefits of deploying forward.
“This was a great experience,” said Richards. “Helping people … teaching people how to help themselves, is very rewarding.”
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, Calif.
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.