CAMBODIA: U.S. Naval Mobile Construction Battalion Provides Assistance, Expertise to Salesian Trade School
They have been working with the instructors at the Don Bosco Trade School in Sihanouk Ville, Cambodia, providing technical instruction in welding, machining, automotive repair, heating ventilation air conditioning, and conversational English. The “Seabees” (as they are called) have been spending a few hours a week providing assistance to the staff and instruction to the students at the trade school.
“It has been great knowing that we can pass on our knowledge to people in need so that they can help themselves and their families,” said Construction Mechanic 1st Class Andrew Duchscher. “We look forward to continuing or interactions with the students and teachers at Don Bosco Trade School.”
Utilitiesman 3rd Class Martin Lemon said, “It has been a privilege to be able to go to the school and help the students learn things that will help them in their future endeavors.”
The members of the unit who have had the chance to work at the school have had positive things to say about the cooperation between the Seabees and the Cambodian students and staff. The Seabees offering their time and talents has allowed for a lower student-to-instructor ratio resulting in a more productive and conducive environment for learning. It has also afforded the staff and students with different ways of accomplishing certain tasks.
Steel Worker 2nd Class Theodore Palmer said “It has been great working with the students and showing them new techniques in my trade and watching them learn and apply them.”
“As a high school student of Don Bosco in Los Angeles, I understand their focus here Cambodia,” said Utilitiesman 1st Class Edgar Deleon. “I’m honored to have the opportunity to share my high school experience, but most importantly, my knowledge. The level of attention, willingness to learn and appreciation I get from each student, makes me put that much more effort into this program.”
Deleon added that he hopes the relationship between the Seabees and Salesian-run trade school continues after the Battalion leaves, because the community relations project makes them true ambassadors.
“It is good to have the Seabees teaching, it is important for the school and the students. I hope the Seabees continue to teach the students and improve the course the students are taught,” said Manager of Social Communications department Chey Bopha.
For the Seabees of NMCB 40 Detail Cambodia, the opportunity to offer their skills to train the students on fundamentals that will provide food, shelter, and clothing for them and their families has been a wonderful experience. Some of the items they hope to accomplish at the school in the future are putting together a tool custodian program, a safety program and an internship program, where the students could go out and work after graduation.
NMCB 40 is the Naval Construction Force’s 2011 Pacific Fleet Battle “E” and Peltier Award winning Seabee Battalion. The battalion deployed throughout the U.S. Pacific Command in November 2011, and is scheduled to return to Port Hueneme, Calif., in Summer 2012. “Fighting 40″ deployment locations include Okinawa, Sasebo, and Yokosuka, Japan, Guam, Korea, the Philippines, Cambodia, Thailand, Timor Leste, Diego Garcia, and Palau.
The Salesians of Don Bosco have a presence in more than 130 countries around the globe and are widely regarded as the world’s largest private provider of trade schools.