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    Engineers renovate schools during Balikatan

    Engineers renovate schools during Balikatan

    Photo By Staff Sgt. John C Garver | PHILIPPINES - Soldiers from the 643rd Engineer Company, 84th Engineer Battalion, 130th...... read more read more



    Courtesy Story

    8th Theater Sustainment Command

    Story by 1st Lt. Robert C. Hofer, Humanitarian-Civil Assistance Detachment Officer In Charge

    PHILIPPINES - Soldiers from the 643rd Engineer Company, 84th Engineer Battalion, 130th Engineer Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command, spent March and April participating in the Balikatan 2016 exercise alongside the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

    The 30 engineers worked on the islands of Palawan and Panay as part of the Engineer Civil Action Project (ENCAP) portion of the exercise, working to renovate local school buildings and build a new pavilion.

    Balikatan is an annual military exercise between the AFP and the United States, now in its 32nd year and including all four U.S. services conducting tactical training and humanitarian civic assistance projects in order to continue to build upon the strong relationship between the two
    The engineers split into two teams with 20 going to work in Puerto Princesa on the island of Palawan. There the team worked alongside 15 Filipino Seabees at the Matahimik Bucana Elementary School to build a concrete pavilion. The school serves 350 students in a rural area outside Puerto Princesa and experiences serious flooding in the recess area
    during the rainy season.

    “The AFP Seabees were very knowledgeable about construction and getting more done with less” said Pfc. Austin Vangordon.

    The other 10 Engineers worked on the island of Panay alongside Filipino Seabees, Australian Soldiers, and U.S. Seabees, Marines and Airmen to renovate two existing school buildings.

    “We were able to connect with the students and teachers of Matanghron Elementary School and put a new roof on one of their buildings. We also built showers and fixed up their plumbing to help improve the sanitation at the school,” said Sgt. David Horton, the Army NCOIC on the Matanghron site.

    “The Marines, Airmen, and Seabees were very professional and I enjoyed working with them,” said Spc. Kevin Reyes. “It was a good experience seeing engineers from across the services in action working together as one big team.”

    The mission wouldn’t have been complete without involvement from the community. On Palawan, teachers and parents from the school volunteered their time to help paint the pavilion. Over a dozen people came to help and ensured the mission would be an experience the Soldiers would never forget.

    “This was my first time traveling outside the U.S. and it was an amazing experience working alongside the AFP to help the students, teachers and parents of the Matahimik Bucana Elementary School. I’d jump at the chance to do it again and recommend other Soldiers look for opportunities like this,” said Pfc. Casey Nelson.



    Date Taken: 04.22.2016
    Date Posted: 06.06.2016 20:08
    Story ID: 200168
    Location: PH

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