News: Bilateral project increases interoperability for Marines, Bangladesh troops
Story by Sgt. Megan Angel
CHITTAGONG, Bangalesh - Marines with Marine Wing Support Squadron 172 continue the expansion of a second story to a school in Bangladesh as part of Bangladesh Interoperability Program ’11 and strengthen their relationship with their Bangladeshi counterparts.
The Marines from Engineer Operations Company, MWSS-172, Marine Wing Support Group 17, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, III Marine Expeditionary Force, began the engineering civil action project Sept. 7 in coordination with the Government of Bangladesh and along with elements of the Bangladesh Armed Forces Division. The project is scheduled to be completed in October.
By working with the Bangladeshi soldiers and local contractors, the Marines are doing much more than just building a school, according to an EOPS Company leader.
The Marines and Bangladeshi soldiers are training and learning from each other, strengthening a bilateral military relationship and improving military readiness, said 1st Lt. Ruth Kelty, officer in charge of EOPS Company.
“The TSC [Theater Campaign] program coordinates exercises and information exchanges between U.S. and foreign service members to strengthen their defense relationships and improve their ability to effectively participate in coalition operations, humanitarian efforts and disaster relief,” said Kelty. “The BIP ENCAP improves the engineering interoperability of our forces, which is an important aspect of military operations.”
The BIP is a continuance of construction projects from 2008 and 2009 when U.S. and Bangladeshi forces worked together to build cyclone shelters and train to improve military support capabilities to disaster relief efforts, said Kelty. It also demonstrates the U.S.-Bangladesh partnership and the interoperability of our militaries.
The Bangladeshi soldiers and contractors use different methods of laying brick, building forms and even mixing cement.
“It’s definitely been an experience working with the Bangladeshi,” said Lance Cpl. Lance Cpl. Bryan Gillis, a drafting and surveying engineer with EOPS Company.
There were some difficulties in the beginning as the Marines, Bangladeshi soldiers and contractors learned each other’s methods, Gillis said.
“And the language barrier made it hard for us to communicate that we are here to help,” he added.
After almost three weeks, the Marines and Bangladeshi have a better understanding of each other and are working side-by-side.
“We like to make work fun and at first, the Bangladeshi didn’t seem the same way, but now, they are joking along with us, teaching us words and joking right back with us.” said Gillis.
The BIP continues to improve the readiness of the Bangladesh AFD and Marines and the long-term military-to-military partnership while providing permanent structures for the people of Bangladesh, said Kelty.