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Deployed Seabees Accomplish Public Works Projects

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS090213-09
Release Date: 2/13/2009 2:13:00 PM

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (SCW/SW/AW) Ronald Gutridge, Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 4, Detachment Horn of Africa Public Affairs

CAMP LEMONIER, Djibouti (NNS) -- Seabees from Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 4 have been tasked with many types of construction projects in various countries in East Africa, while deployed to the Horn of Africa (HOA) including the public works projects on board Camp Lemonier.

The equipment operators (EOs) were presented with many challenging opportunities to display their skills. One such project included repairing a running trail severely damaged after a storm. The EOs repaired the trail by adding several tons of fill and compacting, rolling, and replacing gravel that had been washed away. This provided a safe running surface for all personnel currently assigned to Camp Lemonier.

"I was taught the very basics of the equipment we [the Seabees] operate at 'A' school," said Equipment Operator Constructionman Apprentice Thomas Carroll of NMCB 4. "But now, from the knowledge I have gained on this deployment, I am fully confident that I can accomplish any task utilizing the equipment I am qualified to operate."

Steelworkers (SW) were also in high demand. An 11-foot chain link fence was constructed around the perimeter of the hazardous materials (hazmat) area. The frame for the fence called for the typical bolt together assembly type, but that would not meet the needs of fully securing the area. A decision was made to weld each section of the frame instead of bolting it together. Each section was carefully measured, fitted and welded into place, making the frame much more durable to support the chain link and withstand the harsh African weather for years to come.

"It is very important that the [hazmat] fence be constructed properly," said Steelworker 3rd Class Troy Franklin of NMCB 4. "The safety of the personnel throughout the camp depends on our quality of work, work that will last long after we are gone.

The builders (BU) of NMCB 4 Det. HOA also completed several upgrades around the camp. The Emergency Medical Facility ambulance driveway pad was replaced. The existing pad was deteriorating causing a driving hazard for the ambulances. The BUs teamed up with the EOs and started demolition on the pad. Once all the rubble was removed, a solid foundation of rebar and concrete was placed producing a new, safe ambulance driveway pad.

Builders were also needed to upgrade the area around the temporary berthing tents or "surge tents." The surge tents provide berthing for personnel in transit to and from the camp. There wasn't anything between the tents to walk on but dirt and rock. This created a huge problem when it rained, turning everything into mud.

"Not having a solid surface to walk on increases the chance for accidents and injuries, which affects the operational readiness of the detachment," said Builder 1st Class (SCW) Bruce Spradlin, NMCB 4 Det HOA Safety Supervisor. "Also, everybody trying to get to the latrine or showers while it is muddy makes a mess in both the tents and the bathroom facilities."

Seabees remedied this problem by constructing concrete sidewalks between all of the tents and leading to the latrine facilities. A semi-rough surface was applied to the sidewalks, vastly reducing the chance of slips and falls and creating a safe walkway.

As the Seabees of NMCB 4's Detachment HOA continue forging relationships, supporting development and promoting regional stability within the Horn of Africa, they will also continue to improve the moral and quality of life on board Camp Lemonier by providing safe, on time, quality construction.

For more news from Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 4, visit

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