News: NCMB 3, Australia, Timor-Leste Engineers Enhance Readiness, Push Pacific Presence Past Shoreline
Story by Petty Officer 1st Class Chris Fahey
DILI, East Timor - Seabees from Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 3 teamed up with a joint force of engineers to complete several construction projects intended to improve Timor-Leste’s Metinaro community and increase interoperability between the three Pacific allies.
NMCB 3 Seabees joined Engineers from Timore-Leste’s Defense Force (F-DTL), the U.S. Marine Corps and the Australian Defense Force’s (ADF) Royal Australian Engineers (RAE) corps to build a three-classroom school building, an eight-stall community bathroom, an outdoor kitchen facility, a playground, a basketball court and several hundred meters of fencing, as part of the 28-day Sapper 13 exercise.
“To have a tri-nation exercise where the people of Timor-Leste receive the benefits and to see other nations working and learning from each other is what mission success is about,” said Sapper 13 Officer-in-Charge ADF Warrant Officer Bill Fry, a 19-year RAE veteran.
Planning for the exercise began a year ago and is the first time the three countries have come together to perform civic construction in East Timor.
Although both the Australian and U.S. Navies provide extensive and capable presence throughout the region’s maritime highways, Seabees, Aussies and Timorese’s united efforts increases both readiness and presence well past the shoreline.
This ability and overall purpose of Sapper 13 resonates throughout the Metinaro community. They will be able to provide formal education to more than 300 additional children thanks to the new school house.
Additionally, the completed projects will provide accommodations for F-DTL soldiers and their families currently stationed in the small community, located 45-minutes east of Dili, the country’s capital.
According to Equipment Operator Constructionman Joseph Madley, the multi-national cross training and ability to provide a lasting, positive impact satisfies a dream he’s fostered since boot camp.
“This is what I envisioned when I joined the Seabees,” said Madley. “Working side-by-side with other militaries to improve the lives of people around the world - It’s a dream come true for me and this is only my first deployment.”
The Pacific Ocean doesn’t separate the United States and its many regional allies – it connects them. Naval presence helps ensure peace and stability throughout the maritime highways. That said, ships can only go as far the water takes them. At the shoreline of countries such as Timor-Leste and other Pacific island nations, Seabees stand ready with critical construction equipment and specialized skillsets that allow them to literally move mountains. Their capabilities are unmatched by any other rate in the Navy.
During a natural disaster, Seabees standing watch in the Pacific can provide humanitarian assistance to any nation suffering from the annual onslaught of typhoons, hurricanes and tsunamis. In this disaster-prone area of the world, the local island nations can expect a yearly bill of roughly $278 million in storm damages – placing exercises like Sapper 13 into a critical level of importance.
These exercises help the allied countries interoperate smoothly, so when they are called upon to provide assistance, they can react fast and more efficiently. This equates to saving more lives, rebuilding infrastructure in less time and relieving suffering faster than ever before.
According to U.S. Pacific Commander Navy Adm. Samuel J. Locklear’s published regional strategy, NMCB 3’s skillsets, Pacific presence and participation in Sapper 13 supports his mission to keep the Pacific Region secure and prosperous.
“As we work closely with partners across the U.S. government and in the region to address shared challenges and prevent conflict, we will ensure we are ready to respond rapidly and effectively across the full range of military operations,” said Locklear.
Thanks to Sapper 13, the U.S., Australia and Timor-Leste are better prepared and more ready while maintaining a vigilant forward presence in the Pacific Region.
Seabees from NCMB 3 are deployed to Timor-Leste 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 nine 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.
This work, NCMB 3, Australia, Timor-Leste Engineers Enhance Readiness, Push Pacific Presence Past Shoreline, by PO1 Chris Fahey, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.