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Navy Seabees train with Kadena RED HORSE members

by Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael B. Lavender
Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 7 Public Affairs

10/1/2007 - KADENA AIR BASE, Japan (AFPN) -- Navy Seabees assigned to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 7 "crossed into the blue" and worked with Airmen during a joint-training exercise held Sept. 24 to 26 at Kadena Air Base.

More than 87 NMCB 7 members participated in the Rapid Runway Repair and trained with Kadena AB Rapid Engineer Deployable Heavy Operation Ready Squadron Engineers.

"Rapid Runway Repair is a very important aspect of our operations," said Master Sgt. Tommy Lucero, the Kadena AB RED HORSE airfield damage repair superintendent of contingency training. "Any Airmen can tell you why the rapid repair of any runway can vastly affect how our base operates, especially in-theater. We do this type of training ourselves to get our planes back into the fight after an airstrike so we can establish air superiority."

Rapid Runway Repair consists of various phases of training, including crater repair from ordnance detonation.

"If there is an attack on an airfield, we have four hours to roll out, check for chemical, biological and radiological attacks, fill the craters and cover them with matting so planes can utilize the runway," said Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Ben Neher, the NMCB 7 Rapid Runway Repair team assistant officer in charge. "Additionally, we also clear foreign object debris so it doesn't get sucked into an engine."

The three-day training evolution occurs only once or twice a year for the Kadena AB RED HORSE Airmen.

"Training the Seabees with our equipment and our sites is a win-win situation," Sergeant Lucero said. "For us, because when we have to fight, it creates a cohesive team with our sister services in theater. For the Seabees, it's an even better opportunity because they don't have the opportunity to use this kind of equipment or site."

For the Seabees, working alongside the Air Force was a new opportunity to see how another service operates.

"This is definitely a new experience for some of us," Petty Officer Neher said. "We have many new guys in our battalion and only a handful have done this training before. It's good to be working with the Air Force because we can learn from them as they do from us. Their training is different, but it is educational.

"This is a young team, and we've seen from day one that they are constantly improving," Petty Officer Neher said. "They quickly learn from their mistakes and apply the steps they learn in an expeditious manner."

This is not Sergeant Lucero's first time working or training side-by-side with Seabees.

"Every experience I've had working with the Seabees has been good," Sergeant Lucero said. "Seabees are well disciplined and you can see that immediately. Their ranks are well organized and their upper chain of command, especially their chiefs, have a commanding presence that we need in every military unit. It's certainly a pleasure to work with them again."

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