Nebraska Guard Helps Restore Water Supply To Djibouti Village | Item


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Nebraska Army National Guard Sgt. Beau Heithoff, engineering specialist, Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA), installs a pipe fitting during a leak repair in the village of Chabelley, Djibouti, December 22, 2021. Staff of the CJTF-HOA at Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, works regularly with heads of government and citizens on a variety of projects aimed at promoting stability in East Africa.
(Photo credit: CPS. Gauret Stearns)


Nebraska Guard helps restore water supply to Djibouti village


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Djiboutians and American soldiers unearth a broken pipe in the village of Chabelley, Djibouti, on December 22, 2021. Engineers from the Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa, including soldiers from the 712th Engineer Support Company, worked on the sides of the villagers to restore the village’s watering source.
(Photo credit: CPS. Gauret Stearns)


CAMP LEMONNIER, Djibouti – Living in an environment where water is scarce is a reality for millions of people around the world, including in Djibouti, where the average annual rainfall is 4.7 inches. With so little rainfall, a reliable water source is essential. In Chabelley Village, the necessary repairs ensure a stable water supply.

In December, US Army soldiers and villagers from Chabelley worked hand in hand, moving large boulders, digging trenches and replacing a damaged coupling. Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA), including soldiers from the 712th Engineer Support Company, helped villagers fix a leak in their only source of drinking water.

“We are here to fix a drinking water supply pipe,” said 1st Lt. James Fortson, construction management officer, 712th ESC. “A mismatched fitting caused a leak, and people are losing water from their wells. “

Chabelley is located in the Arta region of Djibouti and is home to approximately 1,000 people. Rain is rare in the semi-arid environment, and the loss of any amount of water is devastating to the community.

“This well is the only source of water for several kilometers,” Fortson said. “Outside of the rainy season, water is hard to find here.”

CJTF-HOA followed the leak from the well for several months. At the end of October, the 712th ESC arrived at Camp Lemonnier, bringing the skills required to help the inhabitants of Chabelley repair the leaking well.

Sgt. Beau Heithoff, a CJTF-HOA specialist engineer at the 67th Maneuver Improvement Brigade Headquarters, oversaw much of the repair work. Heithoff is a combat engineer for the Nebraska National Guard and a plumber in his civilian career. He shared his vast plumbing experience with villagers and soldiers as they dig up the old pipe, cut the old fitting, and install the new parts.

“With the right supplies and the right skills, everyone was able to do their part,” Heithoff said. “It was a team effort.

Villagers and soldiers tackled the project together and completed the repair in less than a day.

“The relationship we have in Djibouti really matters,” Fortson said. “Our effort goes far beyond repairing a well: it’s about showing that we care about our partners and that we want our relationship to last. “

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