Norfolk’s Little Creek detachment supports humanitarian mission in Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste

By DLA Distribution Public Affairs DLA Distribution Public Affairs

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In a humanitarian aid mission to the island nation of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste in maritime Southeast Asia, Seabees from Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 5's Construction Civic Action Detail built two bridges to enable safe river crossings that isolate villages in Leimea.  Defense Logistics Agency Distribution Norfolk, Va., and its Little Creek, Va., detachment assisted the Seabees in the short-notice and cost-effective transportation of wire rope cable to the location.

The wire cable was used to construct pedestrian bridges at a site where many people die trying to cross rivers that isolate the village at Ermera during the rainy season.  This cable enabled the Seabees to finish the bridges ahead of the rainy season, providing for safe crossing starting this year.

“The spools are stored by our personnel at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek, and transported to Norfolk when needed,” said Navy Capt. Harry Thetford, DLA Distribution Norfolk’s commander.  “Our team at Little Creek assisted with palletizing and strapping to prepare the spools for air shipment, while a truck was sent to pick them up.”

Without Little Creek’s assistance, it would have taken the Seabees three trips to bring the spools to DLA Distribution Norfolk central for packing and preparations for air shipment to Travis Air Force Base.  “Because the Little Creek team was willing and able to do this, it saved time for our customer,” said Thetford.

Conquering the austerity of the remote project site location, the CCAD constructed two suspended cable bridges, straddling an unprecedented 50 and 102 meters in order to provide the community access to food, health, and medical services which are cut-off during the rainy season.

In order to construct these bridges, the CCAD harvested up to 280 meters of stone from the riverbed, sprawled 760 meters of steel wire rope by hand, manually mixed and placed 55 cubic meters of concrete, and installed more than 350 decking planks.  Racing against the start of the monsoon season (before and after project execution), the CCAD planned and estimated the project in just 21 days, and executed the construction in 82 days.