MIHAIL KOGALNICEANU, Romania — U.S. Navy Seabees were honored at a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Mihail Kogalniceanu middle school, Sept. 14.
U.S. Navy Seabees from Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 11 stationed in Gulfport, Miss., and NMCB 3 in Port Hueneme, Calif., worked on a fence restoration project in July and August as part of a Humanitarian Civil Assistance mission in eastern Romania for Joint Task Force-East.
A 22-person detachment of the Seabees replaced an exterior fence surrounding the school's playground and also added two gated entrances into the schoolyard. The Seabees spent about 2,000 personnel hours on the project and it cost about $36,000.
The students read letters of thanks and recited their "ABC's" and "Old McDonald had a Farm" in English during the presentation. Students presented official guests with bouquets of flowers, a Romanian tradition where students bring flowers to their teachers on the first day of school. U.S. Army Col. Gary R. Russ, JTF-East Commander, and U.S. Navy Lt. Dan Schmitt, NMCB 3 officer-in-charge, were joined by local civic leaders at the school for the mid-day event.
The Seabees have been deploying on six-month rotations to eastern Romania with JTF-East since summer 2007 and have completed 22 construction projects totaling about $350,000.
JTF-East is a bi-lateral, U.S.-Romanian and U.S.-Bulgarian, U.S. Army Europe mission where U.S. forces are training side-by-side with their host-nation military partners to build interoperability capabilities and develop relationships with other militaries for stronger regional security cooperation. U.S. HCA missions are funded by the Department of Defense and designed to help people and strengthen relationships with our host nations in which we operate around the world.
Seabees with the NMCB 3 are working on several other projects within Constanta County in eastern Romania. They are expected to return to the U.S. in January 2010.