BANDUNG, Indonesia - Otong Rusli wakes up every morning, eats his breakfast and begins work cleaning up rubble from a construction site.

He does all he can to help progress on a baby care clinic, which is under construction in front of his house, where his garden once was.

"I am happy to have a clinic here where people can have access to it," he says with a huge smile.

Rusli is the community leader for this small village approximately 20 minutes outside Bandung, Indonesia. The community leader of 10 years said he is "happy to swap his land for the health of the public."

Construction began on the clinic approximately two weeks ago. Engineers from the Tentara Nasional Indonesia-Ankatan Darat, or Indonesian Army, alongside engineers from the 624th Engineer Battalion (Vertical), Utah Army National Guard work alongside each other to not only complete the clinic, but also to learn from each other.

"This is about making bond with the TNI and the residents here," said Sgt. 1st Class Eric Kinsman, senior construction supervisor for the 624th Engineer Battalion, Springville, Utah. "They want to make a good impression on us, just as we do to them."

Kinsman said the TNI engineers have taught his Soldiers a lot about their construction skills and bringing them back to basics.

"They are using construction skills that we, in the United States, haven't used for about 100 years," Kinsman said.

The reliance on technology by the U.S. Soldiers is effective, but knowing some of these techniques, and the use of simple hand tools will get them through if that technology fails, said Kinsman

Spc. Wade Davis said their skills can be applied to what he does in his line of work.

"It is interesting to see how they do things," Davis, a native of Bridgeland, Utah, said. "They are very crafty and are great at using what they have around them."

Before the project began, Rusli allowed the traveling doctor to use his house to treat patients, but once complete the doctor will have his own clinic to treat children in the area.

Rusli is very happy about that.

"My only wish is for this community to become developed like the other communities," he said. "The people here and the children here deserve it and I will make sure it happens."

This project is one of three Humanitarian and Civic Assistance projects part of Exercise Garuda Shield 09. The two-week exercise brings together Soldiers and Marines from nine Nations to train on the UN mandated ground-level tasks. GS09 is the latest in a continuing series of exercises designed to promote regional peace and security. Training will focus on peace Support Operations and Global Peace Operation Initiative Certification, a Command Post Exercise, a Field Training exercise and Humanitarian and Civic Assistance Projects.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16