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NECC Holds Expeditionary Echelon Exercise

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS070517-16
Release Date: 5/17/2007 3:27:00 PM

By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Cory Rose, Fleet Public Affairs Center Atlantic

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (NNS) -- With the hurricane season approaching, Navy Expeditionary Combat Command (NECC) conducted a three-day Expeditionary Echelon Exercise at Naval Amphibious Base Little Creek on May 8-10.

This exercise gave NECC a chance to test how the expeditionary forces would fall under one command and control element to assist the joint task force (JTF) commander with support in the event of a natural disaster.

“This exercise was a good way to get everybody coordinated and communicating together, so that they can provide what the folks in the field need,” said Information Systems Technician 1st Class Miguel Garcia, a reservist with the 1st Naval Construction Division, and a watch technician during the exercise.

In the past all of the expeditionary commands were in charge of themselves, but since the establishment of NECC they now have one overall expeditionary commander.

“We now have a sort of one-stop shop for the JTF commander to come to and ask for support,” said Storekeeper 2nd Class Nate Blocker, a reservist from Navy Cargo Handling Battalion (NCB) 14 Delta.

The expeditionary echelon concept brought all the unique capabilities of the expeditionary forces under one umbrella, which allows for streamlined coordination and response so that NECC forces can better support the interagency efforts in real-world situations.

“Although most of our forces went to help out during the relief efforts during Katrina this was a different perspective on things, because this time we are working as one team,” said Blocker.

There were many different scenarios during the exercise such as a fuel spill into the flooded areas and a rescue swimmer getting hurt during a recovery mission that gave NECC a chance to test the new communication skills that are now put in place for them.

“We have applied the results of Katrina in a simulated environment in order to draw upon the lessons learned and how we can adapt those to meet future needs of the expeditionary force,” said Chief Operations Specialist(SW) Thomas Garner, operations leading chief petty officer from Naval Coastal Warfare Group 2.

The Navy’s expeditionary forces have a long history of prompt and sustained support and this exercise gave NECC a chance raise awareness of how they can contribute to a real-world natural disaster.

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