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Seabees Build Shore Facilities for RIVERONs in Iraq

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS070720-03
Release Date: 7/20/2007 11:23:00 AM

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

AL ASAD AIR BASE, Iraq (NNS) -- A team of divers from Underwater Construction Team (UCT) 2 began the very large task of constructing a boat ramp and floating pier for the Riverine Squadron (RIVRON) 1 boats being utilized on the Euphrates River, June 22.

The unit of 16 divers, based out of Port Hueneme, Calif., arrived at Al Asad Air Base in late May.

“Our tasking in support of RIVRON and [II] Marine Expeditionary Force Forward is great because it allows our folks to gain interoperability skills with other expeditionary forces,” said UCT 2’s Commanding Officer, Cmdr. Tim Liberatore. “In particular, the boat ramps and floating pier will significantly enable the RIVRON’s mission.”

According to Liberatore, the floating pier will enhance the operability of the squadron by allowing boats to be staged in a manner that will be expeditious for deployment when the squadron needs to react quickly. The ramps will simplify launch and recovery of the boats which will make maintaining the boats an easier task to accomplish.

UCT 2’s support of Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 4 to build two boat ramps that will be placed on the shoreline of the Euphrates River in Iraq is key to the success of the mission. In order to construct the ramps, UCT 2 built wooden forms with reinforced steel concrete (RSC) in sections that will be assembled at the river.

To put the size of the ramps in to perspective, UCT 2 will have used approximately 250 cubic meters of concrete, 240 two-by-fours that are 12 feet long, 180 sheets of plywood and approximately 10,000 linear feet of reinforced steel to build the frames and actual ramp sections. Each of the main RSC pads weighs 23,000 pounds.

“The ramps have to be built in sections so we can transport them to the site where they’ll be put in the water,” said Chief Steelworker Brian Oliver, Officer in Charge of the UCT 2 air detachment. “We have a team here at Al Asad building the forms and pouring the concrete and we have another team at the site. They’re conducting a bathometric survey of the river floor to determine the kind of terrain they’ll be dealing with. Before installing the concrete beams and pads, they have to excavate the river bed to smooth it out so the ramp will sit at the correct angle.”

In addition to operational oversight of the project, NMCB 4 is providing a crane team to assist with the movement of ramp sections in to the water. The Seabee battalion is assisting with quality control measures with regards to concrete batch sampling for consistency and compression strength requirements.

“The hardest part of this project so far has been learning all the procedures used by Seabee Battalions,” said Steelworker 1st Class Nathan Terrazas, UCT 2 project supervisor. “We typically work smaller projects requiring less time. This is a much larger scale project. We’ve had to learn how a battalion gets material and how their reporting processes work.”

With the ramp construction well underway and because of the size of the ramps, most of the divers at Al Asad building forms and pouring concrete will eventually move forward to the dive site to assist their teammates with the ramp installation.

NMCB 28 and UCT 2 are part of nearly 1,100 Sailors and Marines supporting critical construction efforts in the Al Anbar Province of Iraq.

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