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Seabees Build Modular Protected Billeting for Warfighters in Iraq

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS070417-12
Release Date: 4/17/2007 2:42:00 PM

By Lt. Cmdr. Christa Ford, Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 28 Public Affairs

AL ASAD, Iraq (NNS) -- The word of the day for Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 28 is "prefabrication," and they're putting their words into action to complete construction by April 19 of 20 Modular Protected Billeting (MPB) facilities that will support Marines in the field.

The facilities have hardened roofs and can support between 12 and 24 warfighters, depending on how the building is used. The modular units can be used as sleeping quarters, offices or both and offers protection from mortar impacts. Pieces of the MPB are being prefabricated by NMCB 28 Seabees prior to actual on-site construction of each unit.

“We set up in stations here on the Seabee compound, and everyone frames a different component of the MPB,” said Chief Builder Robert Meeler, of NMCB 28’s Bravo Company, who began construction on the MPB facilities April 4.

“We move folks around to cross train them on the different components so that if we need to build the MPB’s again, everyone will be familiar with every station. Our rate of production has been astronomical. Running day and night crews, we accomplished in seven days what was expected to take 15,” said Meeler.

Once the components of each MPB are built, the Seabees organize the pieces into a kit-like format so when they arrive on-site they can be assembled quickly.

“MPB’s are a new concept and have more room than the standard shelters the warfighters use currently,” said Chief Builder Perry Morales, NMCB 28’s Quality Assurance Manager.

“They’re less expensive to build and easier to get into theater than previously used shelters," added Morales. "Because we transport them in kits, you can get more of them out there at one time which means more shelter faster for the warfighter. We’re anxious to hear feedback from the guys in the field so we’ll know how they like them.”

The safety of Seabees working on any project is a high priority for the command, and prefabricating the modular buildings in camp goes a long way to keeping builders and warfighters out of harm’s way.

“The benefit to us and the warfighter is that we’re able to do 100 percent of the prefabrication of the MPB here in a secure compound,” said Cmdr. Craig Scharton, NMCB 28’s commanding officer.

“Once the prefabricated parts of the MPB reach the final site, all that remains is assembling the structure, thereby reducing time on the job site for us and allowing for more rapid assembly. The end result? We can build more efficiently up front and the warfighters get the shelters sooner," said Scharton.

The prefabricated MPB kits will be assembled at forward sites where Marines are stationed across the Al Anbar province of Iraq.

“The importance of this project and the reason we’re producing prefabricated MPB’s is to provide the warfighter out in the field a hardened facility for berthing or billeting that protects against indirect fire,” said Lt. Cmdr. Daryll Long, NMCB 28’s Operations Officer. “Their safety is our priority.”

NMCB 28 was able to prefabricate 10 MPB’s in seven days and is hard at work on producing the other 10. The urgency of providing protection to the warfighter is motivating the Seabees to get the job done as quickly as possible.

NMCB 28 is part of nearly 1,300 Sailors and Marines supporting critical construction efforts in the Al Anbar province of Iraq.

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