Army Brig. Gen. Roosevelt Barfield, deputy commander, Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa, stands outside a meat processing facility in Obock Djibouti, Apr. 14. Seabees from Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 74 completed the facility as part of a CJTF-HOA project to improve the health need of residents of Obock. (Navy photo by PO3 John Hulle)
OBOCK, Djibouti – Personnel from the U.S. Embassy in Djibouti and Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa dedicated a meat processing facility to the Commissar of Obock at a ceremony Apr. 14.
Omar Farga, Obock commissar, accepted the facility on behalf of his community and thanked the people of the United States for their support. “I hope that our relationship and friendship will continue to grow,” he said.
The steel and masonry building marks another step in the continuing ties between the U.S. and Djibouti.
“Today we celebrate the partnership between Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa and the people of Obock,” said Army Brig Gen. Roosevelt Barfield, deputy commander, CJTF-HOA. “Working with the country of Djibouti, this project is an excellent example of how Americans and Djiboutians can partner to promote peace and stability.”
He added “by forming long lasting relationships with partner nations we work together to improve stability, strengthen our sovereignty and increase security. I am very honored to be here today for the dedication of this facility.”
Continuing the theme of friendship and cooperation, a U.S. Embassy representative Eric Wong thanked the commissar and the American military for providing the community the building blocks for a better life.
“This renovation permits people of Obock to have an elementary structure that will help with the slaughter of livestock in a hygienic and efficient way. We are convinced that this donation will contribute to the well-being for the people of Obock,” said Wong.
Seabees from Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 74, based out of Gulfport, Miss., finished the 750 square foot building this month, after Seabees from NMCB 40 began the project last November. The Seabees demolished the existing facility and a laid a new foundation, septic system, plumbing and an incinerator at a cost of $58,000.
Petty Officer 2nd Class Douglas Slaughter, NMCB 74 mission commander, led a 10-person crew during the construction process in Obock. He said the project, while challenging at times, was a rewarding experience.
“The most rewarding aspect of working out there was the gratitude of the local population. They enjoyed our work and were glad we were out there. We constantly had people out there telling us thank you for your work and thank you for helping Djibouti,” said Slaughter, a native of Archer, Fla.
With the facility now complete, the Seabee team is relocating to Tadjoura, Djibouti, to start another meat processing facility.