U.S., Cambodian Airmen support Pacific Angel

  • Published
  • By Senior Master Sgt. Allison Day
  • Pacific Angel 13-5 Public Affairs

Nhaeng Nhang, Rominh and Tram Kok Health Centers are the sites for extensive renovation during Pacific Angel 13-5 Cambodia, a joint and combined humanitarian mission that began Sept. 9.

Twenty engineers from the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces have spent the last four days working alongside 16 engineers from U.S. forces to provide engineering assistance to the citizens of Takeo.

The health centers offer the closest available health care for many.

"At Nhaeng Nhang more than two babies are delivered daily, but there was no commercial power source available," said Master Sgt. John Barboni, 18th Civil Engineer Squadron, Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, Japan, NCOIC exterior electric and deputy lead engineer. "Doctors used a drop light attached to a car battery for lighting the delivery room."

At this site, the contractor installed a solar power source with generator backup. This was necessary because electricity could not be run due to the remoteness of the health center.

"U.S. and RCAF electricians have completely wired the six-room facility to add lighting," said Barboni. "They also added wall receptacles and fans to each room and now there is a light source added to the birthing room."

The health center chief, Pho Phwon, said that he is very happy about all the updates being made. Although the health center is five years old, the upgrades are important for the care of the patients.

"Our previous solar system was broken," he explained "I believe this new system is better because it comes with a transformer. It will help with the electricity during operations and deliveries."

In addition, the engineers also installed a freshwater collection system, a concrete sidewalk, a concrete ramp, a covered porch and awnings over three windows. Staff Sgt. Willis is enjoying his time with his RCAF counterparts.

Willis, 18th Civil Engineer Squadron, Okinawa Air Base, Japan structural craftsman worked at Nhaeng Nhang before moving to Rominh to take care of structural work there.

"This has been an awesome experience," he said. The RCAF guys that I work with are extremely talented and passionate about what they do. I really enjoyed being here and working with them. I taught them some things and they taught me some things."

In addition to structural work at Rominh, there is a lot of electrical. "The electrical distribution was haphazardly run from building to building with bamboo poles for support," said Barboni. "The electrical wires were broken and improperly repaired. RCAF and U.S. forces are repairing all electrical faults, replacing every light fixture and fan in the four worst facilities."

Electrical work also started at Tram Kok Health Center. The operation was scheduled to be completed Sept. 14.

In its sixth year, Operation Pacific Angel usually includes medical, dental and optometry programs, but at the request of the Cambodian government this mission only included engineering civil action programs and a subject-matter expert exchange. PACANGEL is hosted by U.S. Pacific Command and implemented jointly with other governments, non-governmental agencies, and multilateral militaries in the Asia-Pacific region. Four other operations were conducted this year in the Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam and Sri Lanka. This is the fifth and final operation this year.