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Navy Expeditionary Combat Command (NECC)

U.S. Navy Seabees Volunteer at a Spanish Monastery

by Petty Officer 2nd Class James Hong
03 February 2023 U.S. Navy Seabees deployed to Naval Station Rota volunteered at a historic Carthusian Monastery in Jerez de la Frontera, Spain, for a community service opportunity, Jan. 22.

More than 20 Sailors from Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 11, stationed at nearby Naval Station Rota, volunteered at the Charterhouse of Santa María de la Defensión in Jerez de La Frontera, where they assisted local nuns in the upkeep of the 16th-century Spanish historical monument.

“The Seabee ‘Can Do’ spirit was evident as our volunteers pulled weeds and hauled debris... just for the satisfaction of helping others,” said Lt. Ken Slaughter, NMCB 11’s chaplain. “Their selfless service is truly inspiring.”

The volunteers transported and chopped large quantities of firewood for burning in the monastery’s furnace. Additionally, they cleared debris and dug ditches for planting trees.

“Every American that has come here, especially the military personnel, has been a great help to us because they are strong, they have energy and they know how to work and they finish what they start,” said Sister Crist-Hallel, a nun at the Charterhouse.

“The monastery is a beautiful place and you can work outdoors, enjoying the sun, enjoying each other’s company. All this makes this a good volunteer opportunity.”

The Charterhouse of Santa María de la Defensión began construction in the 16th century, and since then had been worked on by Spanish Baroque architects, woodworkers and painters until its establishment as one a Spanish National Monument in 1856.

NMCB 11 operates as a part of Navy Expeditionary Combat Command and is assigned to Commander, Task Force (CTF) 68 for deployment across the U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa area of operations to defend U.S., allied, and partner interests. NMCB 11 is currently deployed to Naval Station (NAVSTA) Rota in support of CTF 68.

NAVSTA Rota sustains the fleet, enables the fighter operations, port operations, ensuring security and safety, assuring quality of life and providing the core services of power, fuel and information technology.