9th MSC reservists strengthen partnership with Indonesians

| June 23, 2011 | 0 Comments
Sgt. Daisy Butai (left), interior electrician, 871st Eng. Co., 411th Eng. Bn., 9th MSC, works side by side with her Indonesian counterpart laying tile in the vendor stalls of a public market being built in Situ Gede, Indonesia, as part of a humanitarian civic action project during Exercise Garuda Shield. (Photos by Capt. Christina Douglas | 9th Mission Support Command Public Affairs)

Sgt. Daisy Butai (left), interior electrician, 871st Eng. Co., 411th Eng. Bn., 9th MSC, works side by side with her Indonesian counterpart laying tile in the vendor stalls of a public market being built in Situ Gede, Indonesia, as part of a humanitarian civic action project during Exercise Garuda Shield. (Photos by Capt. Christina Douglas | 9th Mission Support Command Public Affairs)

Spc. Elizabeth Cole
9th Mission Support Command Public Affairs

Humanitarian mission helps stimulate local economy

BOGOR, Indonesia — Hawaii-based U.S. Army reservists have partnered with Indonesian soldiers to build a large community center and a public market that will benefit a poverty-stricken community, here.

The Maui and Big Island Soldiers of the 871st Engineer Company, 411th Eng. Battalion, 9th Mission Support Command, are conducting the humanitarian civic action project as part of exercise Garuda Shield.

Garuda Shield is a U.S. Army-Pacific-sponsored, annual, bilateral exercise designed to strengthen relations between the U.S. and the Indonesian Armed Forces.

Working side by side with their Indonesian counterparts, the reservists are forging new relationships, while gaining real-world experience in their trade.

“This is a very unique training experience,” said 1st Lt. Joseph Ruhnke, commander, 871st Eng. Co., 411th Eng. Bn. “We are building relationships and learning new ways to do our job. All different parts of the world use different tactics for completing a job, and we are experiencing that firsthand.”

Although the Soldiers don’t speak the same language, Sgt. 1st Class Todd Uyehara, noncommissioned officer in charge of the project, 871st En. Co., 411th Eng. Bn., explained they are integrating well together and helping each other learn their respective languages.

“The Indonesian soldiers don’t speak English very well, but there seems to be no communication barrier when they are teaching,” said Pfc. Owen Tobias, 871st Eng. Co., 411th Eng. Bn. “We all use hand gestures to communicate.”

With construction scheduled to take less than two months, both U.S. and Indonesian Soldiers are working long hours to complete the mission. Taking notice of all the hard work being done, local villagers are even lending a helping hand to Soldiers.

“The locals are doing anything, from picking up brick at the work site, to preparing food and bringing drinks for the Soldiers,” Uyehara said. “They want to do their part because they know it will benefit them in the end.”

Brig. Gen. Michele Compton (right), commander, 9th MSC, meets with Village Chief Rusmana (center) and Indonesian citizens to discuss the community center being constructed in Situ Gede, Indonesia, as part of a humanitarian civic action project during Exercise Garuda Shield, recently.

Brig. Gen. Michele Compton (right), commander, 9th MSC, meets with Village Chief Rusmana (center) and Indonesian citizens to discuss the community center being constructed in Situ Gede, Indonesia, as part of a humanitarian civic action project during Exercise Garuda Shield, recently.

“The locals are very happy about what we are doing here,” said 1st Lt. Nanang Sujarwanto, operations staff engineer and officer in charge, Tentara Nasional Indonesia-IAF. “They show their appreciation by bringing what little food and drinks they have. The community feels a great sense of pride.”

Through this humanitarian mission, Soldiers are helping to provide the community with new buildings and to stimulate the local economy, Ruhnke said.

“We were able to contract with some local vendors and contractors to supply our materials and also help with things like the roofs of the buildings,” Ruhnke said. “It is a real privilege to work with the Indonesians.”

The community center’s opening ceremony was Wednesday.

 

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Category: Community, Community Relations, Deployed Forces, Exercises

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