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Seabees from NMCB 17 Improve Quality of Life for Marines

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS080616-17
Release Date: 6/16/2008 3:58:00 PM

By Mass Communication Specialist Kenneth W. Robinson, 22nd Naval Construction Regiment Public Affairs

KOREAN VILLAGE, Iraq (NNS) -- Seabees assigned to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 17's "Tiger Team" are addressing quality of life issues for Marines in outlying areas of operation in Iraq.

The Tiger Team, led by Chief Builder E. Newlen Sutton, has significantly improved the lives of the Marines in the field.

The Tiger Team is comprised of highly skilled Seabees with tools and materials who perform quality of life, safety and force protection upgrades to remote Marine outposts. In addition to Sutton, the team consists of Project Supervisor, Construction Electrician 1st Class David Blythe, Builder 2nd Class Kenneth O'Donnell, Utilitiesman 2nd Class Bret Stageberg, Utilitiesman 3rd Class Willis Bonie and team mechanic, Construction Mechanic 2nd Class Timothy Furr.

Each team member is not only an expert in their own rate, but is also proficient in all construction trades. They must make on-the-spot decisions, with limited materials and time, which will affect the lives of scores of Marines at each location.

"It was a pleasure to have the Seabees aboard our Combat Outpost (COP) in Western Iraq," said Master Sgt. Sean McBride, senior enlisted advisor at the outpost.

"Construction Electrician 1st Class David Blythe had initially done a site survey to assess the functionality of the COP shower trailers. Once on site, he determined that the trailers were a health hazard because the water did not drain properly. Other major safety concerns included exposed wiring and the location of the water heaters in relation to the shower stalls. Blythe also noted that the initial plumbing was done incorrectly causing leaks which shut down one of the trailers.

"What we have now, is essentially a totally refurbished shower trailer. The impact on morale is huge. Marines coming from a long, dusty patrol can now shower and not have to worry about conducting personal hygiene using bottled water," said McBride.

Currently, the team is working on re-siding a building, repairs at a battle aid station, rehabilitation of a dining facility, and improving sanitation for a laundry facility. These projects will significantly improve health and sanitation for those that use these facilities.

"What the team does out here is what being a Seabee is all about. They are a team of highly skilled Seabees riding into the desolate wastelands in search of adventure and showers that don't drain," Sutton said with a grin.

For more new from the 22nd Naval Construction Regiment, visit www.navy.mil/local/22ndncr.

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