Sunday, June 3, 2012

SEABEES make a difference for others in Kandahar

Navy SeaBees assigned to the Kandahar Provincial Reconstruction Team pose for a picture April 13, 2012 in Kandahar, Afghanistan. Kandahar PRT is a joint team of U.S. Air Force, Army, Navy service members and civilians deployed to the Kandahar province of Afghanistan to assist in the effort to rebuild and stabilize the local government and infrastructure.

If anywhere in this world there is a need for the skills of the " Builder Bees" of the Navy, it is out here in the Sandbox.  I got to speak with some Seabees when I was here last time and they were making things better for others as only Seabees can do.

" The difficult we do right away, the impossible takes a little while longer."

Bravo Zulu to these hardworking professionals.

News: 'We build, We fight': Seabees in Kandahar
  Story by Staff Sgt. Timothy Chacon

  KANDAHAR, Afghanistan - Several Navy Seabees are assigned to Kandahar Provincial Reconstruction team in Kandahar Afghanistan.

Many people may have never heard of the U.S. Navy’s Seabees. The simple, but to the point motto of “We build, We fight” is all one would need to know to understand the basics of what Seabees do, but there is much more to their story. The Seabees have over 70 year of history and accomplishments both in combat and humanitarian missions around the world. From storming the beaches at Normandy during World War II, to assisting with relief efforts in the aftermath of the 2010 Haiti earthquakes, the Seabees are more than qualified to handle any situation or challenge placed before them.

The eight Seabees assigned to the Kandahar Provincial Reconstruction Team in Afghanistan find themselves tasked with a mission that is somewhere in between a combat and humanitarian mission. The mission of KPRT is to assist with improving governance and rebuilding the infrastructure of the Kandahar province. The Seabees play a major role in the infrastructure rebuilding as well as logistical support for all missions conducted by the PRT.
There are three types of Seabees assigned to KPRT: Construction Mechanic, Builder and Construction Electrician. All three titles are self-explanatory as to what duties they perform, but what might not be so evident is what actually goes into performing those duties.

KPRT currently assists of local Afghan construction contractors with several projects in the Kandahar province. The Seabees are not the ones swinging hammers or pouring concrete, but they are providing valuable oversight and expertise for those projects. They monitor the projects and work hand in hand with local engineers ensuring they are meeting certain building standards and safety regulations.

“What we do is very important, we try to teach the locals safer ways to do the projects and help them establish a standard for building codes.” said Senior Chief Petty Officer Michelle Bernales.

Along with the oversight, the Seabees also spend time trying to educate the Afghans on building methods and techniques.

“We don’t just tell them what they need to be doing, but also the reasons for it,” said Bernales. “It’s important they understand why they are doing things a certain way. This will not only make their structures safer, but prolong the life of the buildings.”

The building sites are in the local community and not within the safety of a secure compound. The Seabees venture to these construction sites to keep track of the building process, often times putting themselves in dangerous situations.

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