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Navy Expeditionary Combat Command (NECC)

NMCB 11 Seabees and Gabonese military members hold cultural exchange

by Petty Officer 2nd Class James Hong
13 April 2024 LIBREVILLE, Gabon (April 13, 2024) – U.S. Navy Seabees assigned to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 11 and Gabonese military personnel came together for a language and culture exchange in Libreville, Gabon, April 13, 2024.

The exchange “beachnic”, hosted on the waterfront by the Gabonese Defense Language Center, provided an excellent opportunity for Gabonese service members studying English to hone their conversational skills by interacting with NMCB 11 Sailors and U.S. Embassy personnel.

The day’s activities included food, board games, singing and general conversation. The Gabonese put their English skills to the test by holding tongue twister competitions and playing the telephone game.

The Americans, in exchange, got to learn about local culture and expand their French vocabulary, thanks to their Gabonese counterparts. Following a meal of local food and drinks, the Seabees sang their way through “La Concorde”, the national anthem of Gabon.

“It was a great experience,” said Utilitiesman 3rd Class Joshua Oun. “We not only got to help the Gabonese learn about our language and culture, but we learned a lot about their culture as well.”

NMCB 11, assigned to 22 Naval Construction Regiment (22 NCR), deployed a team of Seabees to Gabon, where they are updating and repairing facilities in support of the upcoming Obangame Express 2024 exercise, sponsored by U.S. Africa Command.

22 NCR operates across the U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa area of operations, providing civil engineering support for U.S. Sixth Fleet maritime operations to defend U.S., Allied, and partner interests.

For over 80 years, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa (NAVEUR-NAVAF) has forged strategic relationships with allies and partners, leveraging a foundation of shared values to preserve security and stability.

Headquartered in Naples, Italy, NAVEUR-NAVAF operates U.S. Naval forces in the USEUCOM and USAFRICOM areas of responsibility. U.S. Sixth Fleet is permanently assigned to NAVEUR-NAVAF and employs maritime forces through the full spectrum of joint and naval operations.