Seabees Welcome Home NMCB 23
Story Number: NNS050614-06
Release Date: 6/14/2005 2:06:00 PM
By Journalist 2nd Class Mark R. Richardson, Naval Media Center Reserve Component
FORT BELVOIR, Va. (NNS) -- A homecoming and reunion celebration for Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 23 was held here June 11 to welcome home the hundreds of Reserve Seabees who returned from their Iraq deployment in early April.
Nearly 500 family members, veterans and friends were on hand to honor the Seabees for their accomplishments in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Capt. Barbara A. Sisson, commanding officer, Theater Contingency Engineering Management, U.S. Southern Command, and Capt. John Miller, commander, 3rd Naval Construction Regiment, praised the battalion for their successful deployment.
“You did what Seabees do best," Sisson said. "You were Seabee ambassadors through your personal example of leadership while building an aid station or a small arms range for our new Iraqi allies. You embodied the best of the American spirit to our coalition partners and to all freedom loving citizens of the world."
"What an incredible legacy you leave for Iraq and the Seabees that follow you," added Miller.
During their time in Iraq, the Seabees worked on several projects, including repairing runways and building four polling places in the western Al Anbar province for the historic Iraqi general elections.
The Sailors said the hardest part of their deployment was leaving their families, but the battalion’s ombudsmen stepped up to the plate to provide assistance. Their efforts were recognized with an awards presentation during the welcome home ceremony.
“The ombudsmen were very supportive, and they did a lot of work to make sure we were all included in this mission,” said Battalion Command Ombudsman Stacy L. Schwalbendorf. "[The effort] just wasn’t overseas, it was home, too."
The Seabees who returned home are now waiting for the safe return of their shipmates who are still deployed in Iraq. Following the ceremony, they signed message boards offering words of encouragement and a wish for a safe journey home for those members.
NMCB 23 is headquartered at Fort Belvoir, Va., with detachments located in Norfolk, Roanoke and Richmond Va.; Baltimore and Adelphi, Md.; Anacostia, D.C.; Greensboro, N.C.; Edensburgh, Erie, Pittsburgh, and Harrisburg, Pa.; and Wilmington, Del.
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