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NMCB-74 Camp Maintenance, On the Job at Camp Natasha

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS090903-01
Release Date: 9/3/2009 6:45:00 AM

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Ryan G. Wilber, Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 74 Public Affairs

HELMAND PROVINCE, Afghanistan (NNS) -- Camp Natasha is a small, but evolving area on Camp Leatherneck currently under the command of Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 74. Maintaining the camp is a seven-day a week, 24-hour a day job, and for NMCB-74 that responsibility belongs to the Seabees assigned to Camp Maintenance.

In the heat and dust of the Afghanistan desert, maintaining the camp has a special set of challenges, but the men and women of Camp Maintenance work tirelessly as a team to get the job done. Climate control, power distribution and carpentry are the main areas of responsibility, but also includes everything in between.

"We maintain everything from the generators down to the panels and light switches," said Construction Electrician 2nd Class Scott Tallieu, NMCB-74 Camp Maintenance Staff.

Power distribution begins at the generators, which must be monitored and maintained continuously to ensure proper operation. For that, a roving watch has been established in which the generator temperatures and load levels are checked every two hours.

"It's not one of those things where we just sit here and pray everything goes well. We have to constantly stay on our toes checking every single unit we maintain on this camp," said Construction Electrician 2nd Class Alicia Morgan, NMCB-74 Camp Maintenance Staff.

Climate Control is no small issue to the Seabees working on Camp Natasha, and for Utilitiesman 2nd Class Travis Holmes, NMCB-74 Camp Maintenance Staff, that is his number one daily concern.

"Everyone works more efficiently in a better environment with no stress, and it improves morale," said Holmes. To ensure the continued cooling operation of the environmental control units (ECU) and air conditioning units, he continually makes rounds cleaning the dust from the filters.

Keeping sand out of the offices and creating a usable work environment in the camp is accomplished by framing doors and latches, building shelving, desks and partitions, as well as completing a number of carpentry work requests that come into the Camp Maintenance office daily.

"We improve quality of life, said Builder 3rd Class Allan Queen, NMCB-74 Camp Maintenance Staff.

Chief Utilitiesman Joe Dunka, Camp Maintenance Chief, feels that he has a good crew working for him that is "terrific in coming up with workable solutions that are safe and work."

Concerning his six navy and two army staff Dunka went on to say, "It's challenging out there. Everyone is pitching in, these guys work extra behind my back, they come in on their off time, I tell them to go home they stay."

The basic infrastructure has been established at Camp Natasha, but as more supplies arrive to allow Camp Maintenance to refine their operations, they continue to work to make the camp a more enjoyable, efficient place to work.

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