KAMPOT PROVINCE, Cambodia --
Civil Engineers from the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces, Royal Australian Air Force and the U.S. Armed Forces worked together to repair schools and health centers in Kampot Province, Cambodia, during Pacific Angel 16-2, a multilateral humanitarian assistance/civil military mission.
The engineers gave children a better learning environment and provided medical professionals a more functional facility to treat patients.
“Repairing the buildings is a collaborative effort,” said U.S. Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Kevin Schumacher, Pacific Angel 16-2 Engineering lead planner. “We are able to learn a lot from the Cambodians and our multinational partners.”
Schumacher explained that during Pacific Angel 16-2, teams of engineers are working on four different sites simultaneously while working in sync with their international counterparts.
At one of the sites, engineers work together to repair a health center that supports more than 7,000 people in the region.
Royal Cambodian Air Force Lt. Keo Narith, Royal Cambodian Armed Forces engineer planner, worked alongside U.S. and Australian engineers to repair the roof, ceiling and electrical wiring inside the building.
“We are working together with the Air Force to plan and repair the construction of this health center,” Narith said. “We work closely together, and we have two different teams working on the building. The electrical group and the construction group.”
The health center director, Dr. Virak Ton, was thankful for the support from the multinational contingent of engineers.
“The building is old,” said Ton. “The engineers are doing us a great service. The rooms they are working on will allow us to house patients that need to stay here. This will allow us to provide better care and more comfort to our patients.”
While repairing the health center, Cambodian, U.S. and Australian engineers took the opportunity to know each other better.
“We are very happy to be a part of the engineering effort here – providing humanitarian support to our community,” Narith said. “By working together we are building up our relationships and partnership. I’m excited to see the results of our teamwork.”
The closing ceremony for Pacific Angel 16-2 will be held on the school grounds of one of Wat Steung Primary School – one of the four schools repaired and repainted by the Pacific Angel engineer team.
“I look forward to seeing our team’s hard work,” Schumacher said. “This has been a joint effort from everybody. From the contractors to the locals, to the school administrators – from our U.S. troops, both Army and Air Force, and to our Cambodian partners. I think it’s a great team effort and I look forward to seeing the finished product.”
Not only are the engineers excited to see the results of their eight-day operation but the school faculty and students already notice the changes happening to their school.
“The teachers are loving the new building and are motivated to teach the children,” said Som Setha, Wat Steung Primary School Director. “The kids looked happy when they saw the new building, and the children are excited to learn more in class. I am very happy that we were supported. Thank you to the U.S. and Cambodian armed forces for being able to improve this building.”
Pacific Angel is designed to promote interoperability with the U.S. and partner nations, while providing needed services to people throughout the Indo-Asia-Pacific region. The mission being conducted in Kampot Province includes general health, dental, optometry, pediatrics, physical therapy and engineering programs as well as various subject-matter expert exchanges.