Thankful For The Little Things

By Petty Officer 3rd Class Elizabeth Poplin, NMCB 11 DET Cameroon PAO

DOUALA, Cameroon (Nov. 27, 2016) – Seabees from Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 11 celebrate Thanksgiving and express how thankful they are during this holiday season, November 27, 2016.

DOUALA, Cameroon (Nov. 24, 2016) Detachment Cameroon, the commanding offer and command master chief of NMCB 11 enjoying thanksgiving together. NMCB 11 is deployed throughout Europe command, Africa Command, Pacific Command, and Central Command; promoting security and stability by conducting general engineering, disaster relief, construction readiness operation, and civic action support. (U.S. Navy Photo by Petty Officer Third 3rd Elizabeth Poplin/Released)

DOUALA, Cameroon (Nov. 24, 2016) Detachment Cameroon, the commanding offer and command master chief of NMCB 11 enjoying thanksgiving together. NMCB 11 is deployed throughout Europe command, Africa Command, Pacific Command, and Central Command; promoting security and stability by conducting general engineering, disaster relief, construction readiness operation, and civic action support. (U.S. Navy Photo by Petty Officer Third 3rd Elizabeth Poplin/Released)

Personnel on DET Cameroon have faced hardships this deployment, but they have adapted and overcome the Seabee way. As they sat around the table together for Thanksgiving Dinner, it was apparent that they were thankful for things that they have never needed to thankful for before.

“I have never had to be thankful for running water before coming here, because I’ve never lived without it. Many people in Cameroon go without water regularly. Using local water supplies, we have experienced the hardship people go through here. Waking up on Thanksgiving morning with water was definitely something to be grateful for.” Said Petty Officer 3rd Class Gregory Shipman

The 27 personnel, all from different places, different ethnicities and backgrounds came together on a deployment overseas as Americans celebrating a holiday together. From Africa, to the Philippines, from the west coast to the east coast of the United States and all in between, regardless of where they came from or what they believe, they each brought something special to the table.

Members of the DET helped the contracted local cooks in preparing the food, including teaching them how to properly cook a turkey and even made their own dishes from family recipes. Those not in the kitchen played football, corn hole, and enjoyed each other’s company. Not only was the Cameroonian cook staff able to enjoy this special day, but the Commanding Officer and Command Master Chief of NMCB 11 as well.   After all, Thanksgiving is all about sharing with one another and being able to show a different country an American holiday based on being thankful was definitely a memory for the books.

“Even though we are away from our families and friends, we still came together around the table as a family. This group of Seabees has created a bond that makes us feel like family. And I’m thankful for that.” Said Seaman Rodney Lyons

This detail has come to the humbling realization that regardless of what they are living without it could always be worse and at the end of the day they have each other. Despite the hardships and difficulties every day, they still have smiles on their faces and “can do” in their hearts.