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Seabees Participating in Provisional Support Battalion During Iraq Elections

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS050129-01
Release Date: 1/29/2005 10:22:00 PM

By Chief Journalist Suzanne Speight, I Marine Expeditionary Force Engineer Group Public Affairs

FALLUJAH, Iraq (NNS) -- Drawing upon the Seabee "We build, we fight" legacy, Navy builders, steelworkers and other Seabee ratings, along with storekeepers, electronics technicians and culinary specialists, are stepping up alongside their Army and Marine counterparts to provide additional security support during the Iraqi election process.

The Provisional Support Battalion (PSB) was established just prior to the elections, under the direction of the I Marine Expeditionary Force Commanding General, in an effort to free up infantry forces by utilizing Army, Navy and Marine support troops in rear security positions.

Senior PSB staffers say the Seabees are proving to be a strong asset during the days prior to the election.

"The Seabees are drawing upon their basic capabilities and training in basic defense tactics," said Marine Sgt. Major Richard Smith, command sergeant major of the I Marine Expeditionary Force Engineer Group (I MEG). "I have every confidence that they will excel at whatever they are asked to do in support of the election process."

Seabees assigned to the PSB began mobilizing throughout the I MEF area of operations earlier this week, providing security for coalition camps and voting precincts. Four female Seabees will be assigned directly to polling stations, screening female citizens as they enter the voting precinct.

Prior to the election, Seabees have been integrated throughout the Iraqi theater of operations. I MEG Seabees were some of the first military units to follow U.S. Marines at the war's onset. Seabees with Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 14 and NMCB 74 were on the ground, building troop facilities and camps, improving roads, and living up to the "build and fight" motto in early 2004.

Seven NMCB 14 Seabees were killed in two separate attacks in April and May 2004.

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