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NMCB 22 Ready for Deployment to SW Asia

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Story Number: NNS090903-11
Release Date: 9/3/2009 2:58:00 PM

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Ron Kuzlik, Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 22 Public Affairs

GULFPORT, Miss. (NNS) -- Nearly 600 Seabees from Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 22 returned to Naval Construction Battalion Center (NCBC) Gulfport Aug. 26 following successful completion of a two-week field training exercise (FTX) at the national mobilization site aboard Camp Shelby, near Hattiesburg, Miss.

Even though the official motto of the Seabees is Construimus, Battuimus, or "We Build, We Fight," Seabees do much more of the former but must continue to be prepared for the latter, especially with U.S. forces simultaneously engaged in combat operations in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

During the exercise, the battalion was evaluated to ensure that it is mission capable and is ready to carry out tasking as necessary in preparation for the battalion's upcoming deployment to Southwest Asia in September.

"The Lone Star Battalion", as NMCB 22 is called, "line hauled" its trucks and much of its equipment and personnel in convoys from NCBC Gulfport to a pre-constructed contingency operations location (COL) at Camp Shelby, about 60 miles to the north.

While at the COL, Seabees received training in chemical, biological and radiological (CBR) defense, indirect fire drills, and prepared for the push to a forward operating base (FOB).

Three days later, an air detachment moved out to construct the FOB, constructing a defensive perimeter with concertina wire and fighting positions, an entry control point (ECP), and Command Operations Center (COC). Afterwards, the main body followed constructing a galley, chapel, showers, and a laundry facility.

The same day, a detachment pushed out to construct a medium-girder bridge, a SWA (Southwest Asia) Hut, a 12 x 800-foot road project with two culverts, one crow's nest (armored observation tower), a four-hole burnout (lavatory facility), a hardened security bunker, heavy timber bunker at the FOB, and also completed quick reaction road repair to fix a bomb-crater hole.

All this tasking was completed while under the constant threat of attack from an aggressor battalion, whose job was to simulate attacks by snipers, improvised explosive devices (IEDs), suicide bombers and even the use of civilians as human shields for intelligence gathering, civil disobedience and other attacks.

NMCB 22 Commanding Officer Cmdr. Ernst K. Walge commented on the battalion's performance during the exercise.

"We learned a lot of very valuable, 'real world' skills while in the field, making this a very real, very relevant experience for everybody." Walge said.

"Communications and accountability are the big topics. For sure this is something that every Seabee in the battalion will take with them when we deploy forward next month."

For Yeoman 2nd Class Clayton Brennen, a former field artillery Soldier in the Army, this was his first field training exercise with the Seabees.

"It was really a good experience. I helped build the heavy timber bunker, and got to see how the Seabees build, and make stuff happen. They did a great job with the shower just to make life in the field a little more bearable."

NMCB 22 is based at Joint Reserve Base NAS Fort Worth, Texas, with nine detachments at Navy Operational Support Centers in Texas and Oklahoma. Its mission is to train for mobilization readiness and construction operations in support of Commander, First Naval Construction Division.

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