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Seabees Rebuilding Iraqi Forces' Training Sites

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS050601-03
Release Date: 6/1/2005 4:00:00 PM

By Culinary Specialist 1st Class Mary Phillips and Journalist 1st Class Mark Overstreet, Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 24 Public Affairs

AR RAMADI, Iraq (NNS) -- Military training facilities near here are being rebuilt for Iraq's newly-formed military and police organizations by Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 24, assisted by the 2nd Marine Division, 2nd Marine Expeditionary Force and the Army's 2nd Brigade Combat Team.

The facilities were ransacked after the fall of Saddam Hussein’s regime.

Marines and Soldiers are also providing military training to Iraqi forces at the sites, which have been dubbed Camp Defender and Camp Ali.

“It's a joint effort, geared to helping the Iraqis prepare to protect their country from insurgents and terrorists,” said Chief Builder (SCW) Greg McGlaughlin, Operations Chief for the battalion's Ramadi Detachment.

The Marines work with Iraqi Ministry of Defense and Ministry of the Interior representatives to develop plans for the reconstruction of the camps, and once the plans are in place the Seabees turn ideas into action.

"Basically you start with nothing, and, after some decisions are made, the Seabees start putting things together and making things happen,” said Army Major Robert Proctor, the 2nd Brigade Combat Team's Operations Officer. “It's what they do, and they do it right.”

Because the camps were in such bad condition when the Seabees arrived, they have required significant repair and refurbishment. Projects at the sites include updating and repairing plumbing, electrical and heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems, as well as installing power generators.

To the delight of the Iraqi trainees on-site, much of the work the Seabees are doing vastly exceeds the standards and specifications used in building the camps years ago.

“NMCB 24 personnel are professional electricians, plumbers, equipment operators, mechanics, carpenters, steelworkers and contractors in their civilian careers back home,” McGlaughlin said. “As a result, they bring a vast amount of technical expertise to the job. Things here were not up to the troops' requirements when we arrived, but these facilities will be in excellent shape when we leave.”

Proctor added, “The Seabees’ construction and infrastructure improvements have enabled us to focus on Iraqi Security Force development. We simply could not be doing this without the Seabees.”

Camps Defender and Ali were specifically chosen for reconstruction by the Iraqi Ministry of the Interior, and the local Iraqi Army Brigade Commander works with the American troops to track the progress that is being made.

“The work that the Seabees are doing here is core to the U.S. mission in Iraq,” said NMCB 24 Commanding Officer, Cmdr. Timothy Simpson. “By building secure, first-rate, efficient facilities where our Iraqi allies will train, we are helping them secure their country's future.”

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