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Seabees Build Combat Outpost at Iraq Forward Operating Base

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS070705-06
Release Date: 7/5/2007 12:34:00 PM

By Equipment Operator 2nd Class Lori Roberts, Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 28 Public Affairs

FALLUJAH, Iraq (NNS) -- A team of nine Seabees from Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 28 completed a security overlook project for 2nd Battalion, 7th Marines Fox Company at Forward Operating Base (FOB) Riviera on June 19, allowing the Marines better observation and protection in an area previously vulnerable to attack.

The security checkpoint, which previously sported a decrepit two-person watch tower, is now home to a newer, more stable six-person crow’s nest with a better view of the surrounding area and troop protection.

The project, which took five nights to complete, included emplacing the 14-foot tower, mounting the crow’s nest on top, and building a staircase and landing for access. The tower and lookout were built at the Seabee builder’s shop at Camp Knott on Camp Fallujah. The two structures were then transported via truck and set up by crane at FOB Riviera.

In between phases of the project, the team of Seabees also managed to repair a damaged wall at the Iraqi police station attached to the outpost and install a water tank to allow the Marines to have more hot showers in the future.

Equipment Operator 1st Class Mike Downer was lead crane operator for this project.

“We got a lot of work accomplished with a small crew,” said Downer.

He and his counterpart, rigger Equipment Operator 1st Class Jim Watkins, both work with cranes in their civilian jobs and trained in Port Hueneme during a pre-deployment phase for projects such as this.

For Builder 1st Class David McCaulley, project supervisor, it was the first time to build and install something this heavy.

“The job went more smoothly than I thought it would. The biggest snag we hit is the ground was so much harder than we expected, and it took us an entire night to drill the four holes for the tower,” said McCaulley.

Builder 3rd Class Garrett Smith was especially gratified to do a project to help protect a group of Marines that was so dedicated to their mission.

“They were working hard all the time on their own missions, but if we needed sandbags filled at three in the morning, volunteers lined up to help us get the job done,” said Smith.

“I was totally happy with how the project turned out,” said McCaulley. “Not only did we come together as a team and do more than we came out to do, but I was impressed that the Marines were so willing to be involved. It was an experience we will always remember.”

NMCB 28 is part of nearly 1,100 Sailors and Marines supporting critical construction efforts in the Al Anbar Province of Iraq.

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