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Seabees Repair Mitch's Destruction

By Staff Sgt. Jeff Troth, USA
American Forces Press Service

SOTO CANO AIR BASE, Honduras, Nov. 19, 1998 – In Honduras, where main roads are scarce, Hurricane Mitch stranded thousands of people.

The U.S. Navy's 7th Mobile Construction Battalion completed their first road improvement mission, making the road to El Valcano passable. It took the Seabees three days to repair over seven miles of severely damaged road.

The northern Honduran town of Yoro has one main road, and Mitch made it impassable. The Seabees sent a two-man reconnaissance team to scout out the damage. The team attempted to drive the road in a Humvee, including a 10-kilometer detour to find a safe place to cross a river, but turned around 45 kilometers shy of Yoro because of the road conditions.

Task Force "Can Do," a team of 17 sailors armed with a bulldozer, a front end-loader and a 5-ton dump truck, headed for La Mesa Air Base Nov. 13 to begin clearing Yoro's road. The task force will fix destroyed culverts, rebuild bridges, clear mudslides, and build detours where necessary.

The task force plans first to open the road from La Mesa Air Base to Santa Rita and then turn east to Yoro. The Seabees intend to live with their equipment as they advance, setting up camp every night wherever they finish work.

[Staff Sgt. Jeff Troth is a member of the Army's 49th Public Affairs Detachment (Airborne), Fort Bragg, N.C., accompanying the U.S. military relief effort.]

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