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NMCB 1 Moves Ahead with Exercise African Lion in Morocco

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS050428-11
Release Date: 4/28/2005 2:49:00 PM

By Journalist 1st Class (SW) Dennis J. Herring, Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 1 Public Affairs

ROTA, Spain (NNS) -- Approximately 50 Seabees from Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 1 deployed at the end of February from its forward-deployed site in Rota, Spain, to Northern Africa to perform humanitarian missions as part of African Lion 2005 Engineering Exercise (AL05 ENGEX).

The three-month bilateral exercise with Morocco is based around a number of Engineering-Related Construction and Humanitarian Civic Assistance projects in the vicinity of Tan Tan, a small town in the Central-Western region of the country.

Exercise-related construction projects include the humanitarian civic-assistance project to build a school for local children, and significant infrastructure upgrades on the Capdra training range.

“It’s all for a good cause,” said Steelworker 1st Class (SCW) Cobey Chasse. “The building we are constructing will be a five-room schoolhouse for 200 Moroccan children.”

Upgrades on the range include installing two 50-foot steel observation towers, a concrete helicopter pad, small arms bunker, completion of the existing trench system, and improvements to the surrounding roads during the three-month period.

In preparation for the exercise, the battalion moved 1.1 million pounds of equipment and supplies by ship from Rota to Morocco. The shipment included 20 freight containers and 38 pieces of Civil Engineer Support Equipment. Members of the unit loaded the shipment in Rota for the 36-hour trip to Morocco, where they offloaded and convoyed the supplies and equipment over unimproved roads to the area of Tan Tan approximately 400 kilometers away.

The detail was tasked to complete five construction projects in 90 days. The largest project is a Royal Building System (RBS) school building, a type of pre-engineered building using lightweight materials filled with concrete for added strength. The building system connects together like a puzzle to greatly reduce construction time. A mobile concrete facility (batch plant) was contracted to provide the concrete needed and was set up just outside the school compound.

At their other projects, the Seabees have completed a small-arms bunker project and are progressing quickly with a weapons range, helicopter pad and two observation-tower projects.

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