US Navy Seabees NMCB 133 Start Their First Mission in Tajikistan
U.S. Navy Seabees assigned to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 133 deployed to Dushanbe, Tajikistan, in November as part of a Global Peace Operations Initiative (GPOI), the first Seabee mission in Tajikistan.
In support of the Office of Military Cooperation (OMC) and Tajikistan Ministry of Defense (MOD), the Seabee crew began construction alongside the MOD’s construction force, the Stroibat, on phase one of a $1 million project at the Peace Support Operation Training Center (PSOTC) at Shamsi Base, funded by GPOI.
To help boost the local economy and establish lasting relationships with contractors and vendors, the building materials were procured in nearby street vendor markets by Utilitiesman 1st Class Justin Walker, the Seabee project supervisor, and Air Force contracting officer, 1st Lt. Sunset Lo. The vendors delivered the materials in a timely manner, enabling the project to move forward on schedule.
Throughout the first phase, which included the construction of a new roof, English language lab classroom, kitchen renovations and electrical distribution repairs, the Seabees mentored 10 Stroibat soldiers, teaching them basic construction skills while building strong relationships through coordination with MOD Stroibat forces and communication with high level Tajikistan military officers.
“Working with Stroibat has been a great experience,” said Builder Constructionman Xavier Knowlesball. “It has been educational working through language barrier challenges and I am honored to be a part of the crew.”
Construction Electrician Constructionman Hunter Kiser expressed a similar sentiment.
“It has been an awesome experience working with the local construction force,” said Kiser. “Their hospitality is amazing and made our visit to Dushanbe easy, allowing us to focus on the tasking.”
With the first phase scheduled to conclude in January, planning for the second phase has already begun.
NMCB 133 is currently deployed as a part of engineering support operations throughout the U.S. 5th Fleet Area of Responsibility.
Naval Today Staff, January 16, 2013; Image: US Navy