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Thursday, June 14, 2007

US Navy Seabees improve Primary School in Ethiopia

by U.S. Navy Builder Construction Apprentice Nick Emanuele

ADDIS, Ethiopia – The American Ambassador to Ethiopia, Honorable Donald Yamamoto paid a visit to the Seabees of Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 133 (NMCB 133), Detachment Horn of Africa (HOA) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The Seabees in Addis Ababa have been tasked by the Combined Joint Task Force, Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA) to construct three concrete masonry unit (CMU) block structures for the Abiot Emerja Primary School. One structure will house the school’s library, the second structure will become an administrative building, and the third structure will be a latrine facility.

U.S. Navy Construction Electrician First Class (Seabee Combat Warfare) Michael Duranko, who serves as the Addis Ababa Project Supervisor commented, “The project itself has been rewarding and has proven to be a challenge my crew is eager to take on. The initial construction started out slowly but once we worked out a few material and contractor issues, our construction processes dramatically improved.”

U.S. Ambassador Mr. Donald Yamamoto was greeted at the construction site by Petty Officer Duranko. Petty Officer Duranko described the phases of the project which included ground breaking location, materials needed for the project, and the structure site emplacement. Upon completion of the briefing, Petty Officer Duranko escorted the Ambassador to the project site to see the middle phases of construction.

At the construction site, the Seabee crew of Detail Addis Ababa were preparing for a concrete foundation placement scheduled only a few days away. The Seabees were pleased to meet the Ambassador and were happy for the pleasure of discussing details about the project with him. Overall, the U.S. Ambassador Yamamoto was quite impressed with the work the Seabees were doing and invited them out for dinner at a future date.

Builder Second Class (Seabee Combat Warfare) Scott Anderson, Addis Ababa Crew Leader remarked, “The Ambassador was surprised to see how much the project was impacting the surrounding communities. He [Ambassador Yamamoto] also said he never seen a project get so much attention as this one.”

In conjunction with the Ambassador’s visit the Ethiopian News Agency (ENA) toured the project site. CE1 (SCW) Duranko had an opportunity to discus with the ENA the specifics of the Seabees mission in the Horn of Africa.

According to U.S. Ambassador Yamamoto told ENA, “The U.S. supports community centered development activities throughout Ethiopia and Seabee projects are a great way to strengthen the relationship between Ethiopia and the United States”.

The Seabees are expected to complete the Addis Ababa project in late September 2007. Future Seabee projects in the Addis Ababa area include additional school construction in other local neighborhoods.

Photo - U.S. Navy Construction Electrician First Class (Seabee Combat Warfare) Micheal J. Duranko (left), leads the U.S. Ambassador to Ethiopia, Donald Yamamoto (right), around the Abiot Emerja Primary School project in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. U.S. Navy photo by Construction Apprentice Nick Emanuele.

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