SEABEE TEAM OFF TO NAIROBI.
A team of U.S. Navy Seabees from the Naval Construction Battalion Center left its base of operations in Guam this week to help in the cleanup effort following the U.S. Embassy bombing in Nairobi, Kenya.
Thirty-one Seabees from Naval Mobile Construction Battalion Three deployed to Kenya on Tuesday on a mission that is expected to include a variety of demolition, construction and repair work.
Although it is unclear exactly what Operation Resolute Response will require of the Seabees, the team composed of steel workers, builders, construction electricians, utility men and an emergency medical technician are trained to handle any assignment.
``I suspect they'll be doing recovery efforts, cleaning up debris, helping to search for bodies, some of the humanitarian efforts they do,'' said Sarah Borford of the Port Hueneme base's public affairs office.
More than 200 people, including 12 Americans, were killed Friday when the U.S. embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, were bombed. Officials said it was unknown why the effort would not extend to Tanzania as well.
``I don't know what we might encounter while working there . . . the human suffering may be great, but we're prepared to deal with it,'' Petty Officer 2nd Class Kevin Walsh said in a news release. ``Whatever we do, whatever happens, we'll back each other up.''
The Seabees in Guam were chosen for their proximity to Kenya, and they flew over in several small planes Tuesday and Wednesday.
Officials said the entire 89-person air detachment team initially was requested to go, but a lack of lodging and limited equipment available in Nairobi required that most abandon the trip.
The Seabees' overall mission includes being prepared to respond in a time of emergency or disaster, and so they are on 48-hour watch.
Seabees from Port Hueneme have been sent to Saudi Arabia during the Gulf War, to Florida to provide relief to towns ravaged by Hurricane Andrew in 1992, and to famine-racked Somalia that same year.
Many of those who went to Kenya this week had been working recently with AIDS patients in Thailand, building a second-story onto an existing building serving the patients.
Their work also has included building roads and bases, and, a little closer to home, clearing the way in the open desert for a Metrolink train station.
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|Publication:||Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)|
|Date:||Aug 13, 1998|
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