Pacific Angel engineers improve Vietnam schools infrastructure

Pacific Angel 17-2 begins in Vietnam

U.S. Airmen work alongside their counterparts from the Vietnam People's Army to install ceiling fans at a school during Pacific Angel (PACANGEL) 17-2 in Tam Ky, Quang Nam Province, Vietnam, Sept. 11, 2017. PACANGEL is a multilateral humanitarian assistance civil military engagement, which improves military-to-military partnerships in the Pacific while also providing medical health outreach, civic engineering projects and subject matter exchanges among partner forces. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Kamaile Casillas)

Pacific Angel engineers improve Vietnam schools infrastructure

U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Aaron Cabarrus, left, a construction supervisor assigned to the 523rd Engineer Support Company, 84th Eng. Battalion, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, works with members of the Vietnam People's Army to install ceilings at a school during Pacific Angel (PACANGEL) 17-2 in Tam Ky, Quang Nam Province, Vietnam, Sept. 13, 2017. Since 2007, PACANGEL engagements have impacted the lives of tens of thousands of people by providing civil engineering programs, humanitarian aid and disaster relief and subject matter exchanges. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Kamaile Casillas)

Pacific Angel engineers improve Vietnam schools infrastructure

U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. Antonio Moniz, a combat engineer assigned to the 1st Marine Logistics Group, 7th Engineer Support Battalion, Bravo Company, from Camp Pendleton, Calif., works alongside a member of the Vietnam People's Army to install ceilings at Nguyen Duy Hieu Primary School during Pacific Angel (PACANGEL) 17-2 in Tam Ky, Quang Nam Province, Vietnam, Sept. 14, 2017. Since 2007, PACANGEL engagements have impacted the lives of tens of thousands of people by providing civil engineering programs, humanitarian aid and disaster relief and subject matter exchanges. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Kamaile Casillas)

Pacific Angel engineers improve Vietnam schools infrastructure

U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Aaron Cabarrus, left, a construction supervisor assigned to the 523rd Engineer Support Company, 84th Eng. Battalion, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, works with members of the Vietnam People's Army to install ceilings at a school during Pacific Angel (PACANGEL) 17-2 in Tam Ky, Quang Nam Province, Vietnam, Sept. 13, 2017. Since 2007, PACANGEL engagements have impacted the lives of tens of thousands of people by providing civil engineering programs, humanitarian aid and disaster relief and subject matter exchanges. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Kamaile Casillas)

TAM KY, QUANG NAM PROVINCE, Vietnam -- Over the last few days, U.S. and Vietnam People's Army engineers have been working side-by-side during Pacific Angel 17-2 here, dedicating time and resources to quality of life and infrastructure improvement projects.

A team of 12 Vietnamese engineers and 16 from the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Army and U.S. Marine Corps is responsible for renovating four schools, as well as a health post and three community centers. The team is responsible for infrastructure enhancements to include installing ceilings, toilets, sinks, along with ceiling and wall fans at Tam Thai Commune Cultural Center, Binh Dinh Nam Commune Cultural Center, Tram Y Te Xa My Tay Commune, Nguyen Duy Hieu Primary School, Trung Hoc CC Sc Nguyen Ba Ngoc School, Truong Thcs Phan Tay Ho School, Hoa Sen Kindergarten School, and Binh Dinh Nam Health Commune.

“Even with the language barrier, integrating with the Vietnamese has been a seamless process and this opportunity has provided the engineers with the experience,” said U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Dwight Richards, Pacific Angel 17-2 lead engineer from 18th Civil Engineer Squadron at Kadena Air Base, Japan.

Working together in a joint environment also provides the engineers a chance to see how sister services accomplish things and in some cases, requires them to step outside of their primary duties to refine skillsets that are often not utilized.

“Our job as combat engineers normally involves demolition,” said U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. Antonio Moniz, one of two combat engineers from Camp Pendleton, California. “We learn basic carpentry and construction skills, but our day-to-day job is more focused on [specialized] demolitions for urban breaching and land mine warfare.”

PACANGEL builds partnerships between regional nations by conducting multilateral humanitarian assistance and civil military operations, promoting regional military-civilian-nongovernmental organization cooperation and interoperability.

“Our biggest challenge is staying on schedule while working with our counterparts and trying to get it all done,” Richards said. “But in the end, knowing that our work will have an everlasting impact on the kids and the people that utilize the facilities we're improving makes it worth all of the effort.”

PACANGEL 17-2 will conclude with a closing ceremony at the Truong Thcs Phan Tay Ho School, September 18.