TERNATE, Indonesia - Australian Defense Force Army engineers from the Second Combat Engineer Regiment (2CER) and students from the University of California, San Diego Pre-Dental Society joined forces with U.S. Navy Seabees from the Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 11 from Gulfport, Miss., to complete the renovation of the Puskesmas Kalumpang medical clinic here.
2CER, which is based in Gallipoli Barracks, Brisbane, Australia, and engineer volunteers from UCSD-PDS have been working alongside the Seabees of NMCB 11 and Amphibious Construction Battalion (ACB) 1, out of San Diego, for the duration of Pacific Partnership and continue to do so when the future of a medical clinic is on the line.
One of the primary goals of Pacific Partnership is the collaboration between countries and voluntary organizations. Pacific Partnership 2010 participants for Indonesia include medical and engineering professionals from Australia, Cambodia, Canada, Indonesia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the four U.S. military services. In addition, volunteers from the non-governmental organizations HOPE Worldwide, Latter-day Saint Charities, Project HOPE, Vets Without Borders, and World Vets are aboard Mercy and have joined the team to help serve the medical and construction needs of the people of Ternate and its surrounding islands.
This engineering civic action program (ENCAP) has revived a thriving clinic that began to fail over the years due to the elements, and which was all but closed by the local government.
“The Seabees are doing a heck of a job out here, and we are happy to join them in putting the finishing touches on this beauty,” said Sgt. Andrew James Burbury, assigned to 2CER. “These are the type of jobs that I enjoy the most, working with people from other places and cultures and combining our experiences to learn new things, this is what this exercise is all about.”
“I volunteered to work on this clinic because I heard that it was a challenging project,” said Sean Masavage, a mechanical engineer who is working with the UCSD Pre-Dental Society. “The best part of this is the opportunity that I get to work with international crew and learn new tricks of the trade while building relationships that will extend much further than this job - I am ready to do it again!”
The building was initially opened in 1970 and was the first social service clinic in the entire town; currently there are four others in operation. It services about 1,500 people per month and is staffed by three primary and family care physicians and 12 paramedics.
The engineering project is part of Pacific Partnership 2010, the fifth in a series of annual U.S. Pacific Fleet endeavors conducted in Indonesia as a disaster relief exercise aimed at strengthening regional partnerships and increasing interoperability with U.S. interagency, host nations, partner nations, and international humanitarian and relief organizations.
To date, Pacific Partnership 2010 has included visits to Vietnam, Cambodia, and Indonesia.