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Construction Battalions Participate in "Super" Field Exercise

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS080304-25
Release Date: 3/4/2008 3:20:00 PM

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Nicholas Lingo, Naval Construction Battalion Center, Gulfport Public Affairs

CAMP SHELBY, Miss. (NNS) -- Active-duty and reserve Sailors from Naval Mobile Construction Battalions (NMCB) 133, 27 and 24 are currently in the field participating in their annual Field Training Exercise (commonly known as FTX), only this one's a little different.

There are more than 1,300 Seabees currently involved in the exercise, which is held annually by each battalion to help prepare them for upcoming deployments.

This exercise is unique in its design due to the large number of Seabees involved. Typically two battalions participate, but at this time there are three. It's known to Seabees as a "Super FTX." The trend in past exercises was to include no more than two battalions and to separate the two during the training.

"The benefit is we've combined functions, which has allowed units to integrate and helps us build relationships with our reserve counterparts as well as helps us learn from each others successes and failures," said Cmdr. Paul J. Odenthal, commanding officer, NMCB 133. "We could have spread out our COCs (combat operations centers) and kept each entity separate, but [working together] is better for mutual success."

While on deployment many reserve and active-duty Seabee battalions work hand-in-hand with each other to provide mission support, therefore reserve and active integration is essential in these exercises.

"This is exactly the type of training we need," explained Cmdr. Ron Gruzesky, commanding officer, NMCB 24. "We are rarely co-located, so this training lets us see their setup and how they operate. It's important for the active duty Seabees to see that we (reservists) are more similar than dissimilar."

During the exercise all three battalions will work cooperatively to complete any number of contingency construction operations, which can include building a bridge, a water well, a timber tower and bunkers throughout the area of operation.

These training exercises are key in helping the Seabees prepare for war-time and peace-keeping missions throughout the world, and better prepare both reservists and active-duty Sailors for mission readiness.

NMCB 133 is preparing for their upcoming deployment to Guam and Japan in June. Both NMCB 24 and NMCB 27 are preparing for tentative deployments to Southwest Asia.

For more news from Naval Construction Battalion Center, Gulfport, visit
www.navy.mil/local/ncbcgulfport/.



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