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NMCB 7 Seabees Play 'Bad Guys' For NMCB 133, NMCB 22

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS090902-20
Release Date: 9/2/2009 4:31:00 PM

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (SCW) Michael B. Lavender, Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 7

CAMP SHELBY, Miss. (NNS) -- Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 7 provided 87 personnel to play the aggressor for NMCB 133 and NMCB 22's field exercise (FEX).

During a Seabee battalion's homeport training, it undergoes a FEX to train and to determine its deployment readiness.

This two to three-week exercise includes communications, convoys, patrols and repelling attacks. But who attacks a Seabee battalion on FEX?

Enter the aggressor. These motivated personnel are selected from a fellow Seabee battalion; usually a battalion that is a few months earlier in their homeport training schedule than the battalion currently on its field exercise.

"We utilize aggressors as the enemy used to train a battalion in the field by exploiting its weaknesses," said Utilitiesman 2nd Class (SCW/FMF) Dennys Colodro, a 20th Seabee Readiness Group aggressor leader. "It's a great part of FEX. You can never gain the full effect of battle, no matter what training you do. By providing a visual enemy, we can get the battalion closer to the reality that there are people out there shooting at you."

Training to be a FEX aggressor starts with basic skills earned in the battalion with some on-site training conducted prior to starting the scenarios against the battalion on its FEX.

"In a position like this, you get to practice skills you don't often get to in the Seabees, like applying tactics in warfare," said Colodro. "Seabees are a defensive unit. We're out of the box when we have to do offensive operations in these mock battles. We borrow tactics from the Army and Marine Corps, and apply the 'Can Do' touch to them."

During an Aggressor FEX, aggressors perform a variety of scenarios including sweeps, different levels of attacks, ambushes, intruders and protests.

"I'm having a blast out here," said Construction Electrician Constructionman Danny Hartless, a Seabee assigned to NMCB 7 and an aggressor. "I've been in the battalion six months and have never been out in the field. I get to explore the offensive side, so I get to think like an enemy combatant would."

While a defending Seabee battalion is out on its FEX, the aggressors play an important role to determining their readiness to deploy.

"We're here to test the defenses and capabilities of the defending battalions that are out on their field exercise to ensure they're capable of deploying," said Steelworker 1st Class (SCW) Riley Edwards, NMCB 7's aggressor leading petty officer. "We receive scenarios from the regiment with the number of personnel they want present for the specific attack or protest. We do four to ten missions a day. It gives the defending battalion the opportunity to see if it can handle a scenario we throw at them because if they encounter it down range, they'll have a better idea of how to handle it and react appropriately."

While playing the enemy against a battalion in the field is fun, the Seabees from NMCB 7 also use it as a training tool to apply at their own FEX.

"There are several lessons that NMCB 7 or any aggressor can take away when they play the enemy," said Colodro. "It's sort of a director's chair point of view."

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