Engineers build school in Cambodia
June 2, 2011
KAMPONG SPEU PROVINCE, Cambodia -- A joint venture of the 544th Engineer Company, 52nd Eng. Battalion, and Royal Cambodian Armed Forces engineers concluded with a ribbon-cutting of a newly-constructed school in Taing Sia Village, Kampong Speu Province, Cambodia, May 25.
The project was part of the Engineer Civic Action Projects of exercise Angkor Sentinel 11, a peace support operations exercise co-sponsored by U.S. Army Pacific and RCAF designed to improve military mission readiness and effectiveness of all participating countries.
The Fort Carson engineers began arriving in Cambodia March 25 and often worked around the clock to ensure the school was finished on schedule.
“We put four welders on site from 6 in the evening to 6:30 in the morning to make sure that we met our deadline,” said Capt. Margaret Maasberg, 544th Eng. commander.
The new building will offer three classrooms capable of seating 60 students each, a new potable-water well, an on-site latrine, as well as a soccer field behind the building, Maasberg said.
Working together on construction projects like the Taing Sia School has given both RCAF and U.S. Soldiers valuable experience and has provided a venue for sharing their construction techniques with each other.
“The Cambodian Soldiers’ ingenuity has been really useful to the project,” said Staff Sgt. Floyd Wheetley, project supervisor, 544th Eng. He said his Soldiers are going to take home a lot of new techniques and that he feels they have also taught the RCAF engineers a lot about safety measures and technology.
Construction of a new school in the Taing Sia Village has proven to be meaningful to the local community as there has not been an adequate school in that area for more than 30 years.
“I am very pleased to work with the U.S. Army, especially in the construction of a school,” said Col. Chancheat Huot, RCAF construction supervisor of the Engineer Civic Action Projects. “The people around here are very appreciative because they haven’t had a school here since the civil war.”
The Soldiers working on the school say they have felt appreciation for their work from the people living in the area.
“It’s very humbling when you’re driving to the project site every day and the villagers are excited to see you,” said Maasberg. “I think this is of great significance. (The people) are all very excited, supportive and very eager to get into the school and start teaching.”
In addition to building the school, the engineers renovated the dilapidated Domnak Chan Health Clinic in Trapaing Antong Village, also located in Kampong Speu Province. Renovations included a new roof, a potable water system, solar panels to power the clinic and a fresh coat of paint.