U.S. Army's Humanitarian Project
April 1, 2011
by Arwen Consaul
U.S. Army South, along with U.S. Navy engineers, worked together with the Nicaraguan National Assembly to construct three water wells in Los Sanchez, Samaria and La Noria as part of Army South’s “Beyond the Horizon” mission.
Beyond the Horizon is a humanitarian and civic assistance mission in Nicaragua, providing focused medical and engineering support to the people of the region. The mission provides an opportunity to work in partnership with the Nicaraguan military, as well as provide a real-world learning environment for U.S. military service members.
The engineering projects for this Beyond the Horizon mission are being conducted by U.S. Navy engineers, better known as Seabees, from Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 25, out of Fort McCoy, Wis. The engineers arrived in Nicaragua to begin preparations for the digging and construction of the three wells.
“The installation of these wells is important, because they provide the community with much-needed potable water in a central location,” explains Joe Neal, the officer in charge of NMCB 25. “By drilling this well, we provided the town of Samaria with a fresh water source. Prior to this, the locals had to walk to the river for potable water, which was some ways out.”
Nicaraguan army Lt. Rodolpho Otero, a force protection officer providing security for the Seabees, spoke with many Nicaraguan locals who stopped by to talk with both the military and the civilian engineers. “Everyone agrees that this well was very much needed for this village and the people living in the surrounding area,” says Otero. “The locals are all very happy to see Americans working with the Nicaraguan military on this project.”
Though the timeline was tight for the construction of the three water wells, Neal also points out that the project is a great opportunity to meet the people of Nicaragua. “This mission gives us opportunities to interact with local people and the Nicaraguan army while, at the same time, getting real-world training for future missions,” says Neal. “It also gives us chances to interact with the local populace, showing that both countries are working together.”
The three water wells constructed in partnership with Army South, NMCB 25 and the Nicaraguan army will bring lasting benefits to the local community. “The Nicaraguan army welcomes the help being provided for this community, and has a very positive outlook for this project and the future,” notes Otero.