VINH, Vietnam –
Seabees of Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 40 pack their seabags one last time July 21 before returning home after a nine month forward deployment.
Twenty-two ‘Fighting Forty’ Seabees,
along with four containers packed with tools and equipment, departed
Okinawa in late June to Nghe An province. After 30 hours from their
base in Japan to their hotel rooms in Vietnam, they began
construction efforts in support of Pacific Partnership 2012 (PP12).
“Our mission was to construct a four-room health clinic in one of
the most impoverished communities in the country and renovate two
other clinic buildings,” said Senior Chief Builder Todd Bernashe,
assistant officer-in-charge, NMCB 40 PP12 detachment.
Bernashe described how the Seabees attached to this team have
overcome adversity and shortcomings in manpower and equipment, not
to mention having many who are deployed for the first time and
maintaining a 24-hour operation on the ground.
“After all was said and done with country clearances and manning
shortfalls, there were 22 Seabees to conduct a mission originally
intended for 25,” he said. “After our departure flight was pushed
back for the third time, there were 29 days to complete what was
originally planned for 34.”
The Seabees worked seven days a week and exceeded a ‘normal’ work
day, constructing and renovating buildings and sites in over 100
degree weather and high humidity while wearing long sleeve shirts
and pants to prevent against insect-borne illnesses.
“It’s hot out here but we know what we’re doing here matters to this
community,” said Builder 1st Class David Garcia. “To be a part of
something that will help the members in this community long after we
leave means something, especially since our unit will soon be
NMCB 40 is slated to be decommissioned in August, but the work of
the ‘Fighting Forty’ in Hung Lam and Hung Tam will serve their
communities for many years to come.
“The finished product of our efforts will be part of our legacy,”
said Engineering Aide 3rd Class Kyle Jeffreys.
Now in its seventh year, Pacific Partnership is an annual Pacific
Fleet humanitarian and civic assistance mission U.S. military, host
and partner nations, non-governmental organizations and
international agencies designed to build stronger relationships and
disaster response capabilities in the Asia Pacific region.