PORT HUENEME, Calif. (NNS) -- Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 28 Seabees, based in Shreveport, La., began deploying to the Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) area of responsibility (AOR) in late November and will all be in the SOUTHCOM AOR by Dec. 19.
The 85 Seabees of the reserve air detachment are expected to be deployed until August 2011, and will be completing humanitarian and community relations missions in Haiti, Antigua, El Salvador, Panama, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Argentina.
These missions include drilling water wells, completing vertical construction, and effecting repairs and maintenance in support of local villages in the SOUTHCOM region.
"I'm very proud to be the water well officer in charge for this deployment," said Ens. Gabino Moreno III, detachment officer-in-charge for New Horizons 2011, the mission that will construct and repair water wells in Haiti after the recent devastations. "This is a history-making program that will provide the necessary means to get Haiti on a solid path to recovery.
"It's tough to leave loved ones for this long, but to be part of something bigger than yourselves makes it worth it. The team has trained hard and is ready to make a positive impact on the people of Haiti. Our success there will be to see them flourish with the help of the clean water we will provide," said Moreno.
In addition to completing projects that will improve the living situations for villagers, the unit will also complete construction and maintenance projects aboard Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, including road repairs and vertical construction.
"It's great to be accepted as a part of an elite group that has shown the true talent of the 'old pros,'" said Chief Builder Jeremy Stokes, Guantanamo Bay detachment assistant officer-in-charge. "I expect this mission to allow us to continue to honor that tradition, and I expect that everyone will leave with the knowledge and compassion to help them succeed in his or her personal and professional journey."
For many, this will be the first deployment conducted for humanitarian missions, and the new experience is exciting.
"We're getting to help people that are definitely in need," said Construction Electrician 2nd Class Michael Caturegli, , who drills in Tulsa, Okla. "It makes me feel good to do something that the military doesn't always get to do."
"I think that being a part of a humanitarian mission is motivational for us; we get to give back to a country that needs so much, and it reminds us of why we joined in the first place," said Equipment Operator Billy Kirby, who drills in Little Rock, Ark.
NMCB 28's last deployment was to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and concluded in October 2008.
For more news from Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 28, visit www.navy.mil/local/nmcb28/.