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NMCB 3 Completes Iraqi Army Combat Outpost Project

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS080616-09
Release Date: 6/16/2008 3:38:00 PM

By Lt. Steven Chan, Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 3 Public Affairs

TAQADDUM, Iraq (NNS) -- Seabees from Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 3 Detail Taqaddum, pushed out from their base camp to begin construction and maintenance operations on a Combat Outpost (COP) for the Iraqi Army.

Their mission was to construct six Southwest Asia (SWA) huts, which are 16 feet by 32 feet wooden buildings and one 16 feet by 48 feet Super SWA hut, and perform miscellaneous utility repairs for the COP.

The COP is currently operated by a U.S. Military Training Team, which is providing training to the Iraqi Army.

"Our purpose out here is to ensure that the Marines and the Iraqi Army have the facilities they need to continue to fight the war on terror," said Builder 1st Class Andre Sanders, project supervisor.

The Seabees of NMCB 3 had only been in Iraq for a few days when they had to go 'outside the wire' to work the COP project.

This was one of their first projects away from the relative safety of their base, and for many of the detail's crew, it was their first construction project.

"Most of the Seabees on our crew were junior troops new to the Navy," said Builder 2nd Class Jason Maxwell, crew leader for the project. "The junior troops had to overcome many challenges. They had a steep learning curve, but by the end of the project, they were able to accomplish the mission on schedule and without incident."

Seabees are known for their construction expertise as well as their ability to serve as goodwill ambassadors. The Iraqi Army in charge of the COP provided security for the Seabees and was on the job site every day to see the Seabees at work.

"Some of the Iraqi enlisted soldiers had some construction experience and were builders prior to the war," said Maxwell. "At first, we were kind of wary about their constant observation, but once we had the chance to meet and talk with them we realized it was just curiosity and we soon became good friends. They even offered to help us work on the project."

For many of the junior troops, this experience completes their first mission in Iraq.

"It's a great feeling," said Builder Constructionman Anthony Puppo. "As soon as we arrived in Iraq, we hit the ground running and completed our first project. I am proud. We have completed our first mission providing support to the Marines and the global war on terror[ism]."

For more news from Naval Mobile Constrution Battalion 3, visit www.navy.mil/local/nmcb3/.

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