US Army Pacific and Indonesia Construction Builds Relationships
June 16, 2013
- We have a language barrier, but we have the principles of construction and engineering in common.
- The Indonesians' construction TTPs are really good, so we're going to use them.
DEPOK, Indonesia -- The common craftsmanship of military engineering has surpassed language barriers to lay the foundation for Indonesian and U.S. Army construction projects expected to begin in Indonesia next year.
Engineers of the Indonesian Army's 9th Engineer Battalion, 1st Division Kostrad and the U.S. Army Reserve's 797th Engineer Company are planning to join forces to undertake a renovation project and construct a multi-purpose building --suitable for housing, a community center or daycare center, according to 1st Lt. Mark Lero, 797th Engineer Company.
The projects will be part of Garuda Shield 14, the annual military exercise designed to strengthen military-to-military cooperation while focusing on international peace support operations. Ten engineers from the two units met and began planning under the auspices of Garuda Shield 13, which began on June 10.
They decided on the projects after an exhaustive comparison of their respective construction techniques, said Lero, of Mangilao, Guam. Lero, his Indonesian counterpart Capt. Yudo Harianto and the other engineers began the planning process by touring a construction site here on June 9, along with another construction site and a materials store later on.
With an air of quiet professionalism and expertise that transcended cultural differences, the engineers walked the Depok construction site, keenly studying its brick and cement construction and noting building methods.
The tours gave them an understanding of Indonesian construction techniques and materials, Lero said. But joint endeavors like the building and renovation projects require common methods, which is what the some of their planning -- a 10-day process -- was about, he added.
The Indonesian and U.S. engineer Soldiers found that they weren't too far apart. Their respective building techniques and ways of managing construction are about the same, Harianto said.
"The materials we use are much different than the Americans use," he said.
Among other things, the Indonesians use reinforcing bar differently, Lero noted. Nonetheless, they were able to consolidate their ideas and observations and decide on a set of tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs) to use in the projects, he explained.
"The Indonesians' construction TTPs are really good, so we're going to use them," Lero said.
Both Soldiers have high hopes for the projects. He's anxious to begin so they can make their mark, Harianto said.
"Five to 10 years from now, our work will still be here," Lero said. "The people will remember that the U.S. and (Indonesian Army) Soliders were here and gave back to the community."
He enjoys being an engineer Soldier and working with the American engineers, Harianto said.
"We don't just fight -- we build," he stressed. "We have a language barrier, but we have the principles of construction and engineering in common."
They learned a lot from their Indonesian counterparts, Lero said.
"They have a lot of unique ways of constructing things," he said. "I'm going to miss them until we meet up to begin work next year."