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1 NCD Commander Makes First Visit to Seabees in Iraq

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS070809-16
Release Date: 8/9/2007 6:11:00 PM

By Chief Mass Communication Specialist (FMF/AW/SW) Shane Montgomery, 30th Naval Construction Regiment Public Affairs

CAMP FALLUJAH, Iraq (NNS) -- Rear Adm. Richard E. Cellon, Commander, 1st Naval Construction Division (1 NCD), visited the Al Anbar province Aug. 3-6 to see firsthand how his Seabees are directly impacting the war in Iraq.

The visit, his first since taking command of 1 NCD, was part of a Middle East sweep to assess the current status of his forces and discuss the way ahead as the Seabees prepare to implement the Fleet Response Training Program this year.

“Right now is the best time to be a Seabee,” said Cellon during an all-hands call at the Camp Fallujah chapel with Seabees from the 30th Naval Construction Regiment (30 NCR) and Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 28. “The contribution to the nation by Seabees has never been greater, and I could not be more proud of the job you are doing.”

The admiral’s comments resonated as the Seabee community prepares to stand up a new naval construction regiment and battalion in Gulfport, Miss., Sept. 14. The expansion reflects the critical role that Seabees are playing in supporting warfighters in current worldwide military operations.

Cellon was accompanied by Seabee Force Master Chief Constructionman James Fairbanks during the visit. Both visitors discussed topics ranging from uniforms, reserve and active-duty integration, and the future role of the Naval Construction Force in worldwide operations.

The admiral focused on his four “way ahead” principles which include Operational Employment in Iraq and Afghanistan and other forward deployed locations; the Seabees role as a part of the new Naval Expeditionary Combat Command; the health and tone of the force; and building the Seabee technical skills.

The visit to Iraq included stops to visit Seabees at Al Asad Air Base, Al Taqaddum and Camp Fallujah with future visits being planned for other Seabee operational areas.

There are more than 1,100 Sailors and Marines supporting critical construction efforts in the Al Anbar province of Iraq as a part of 30 NCR.

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