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NMCB 7 Deploys to Europe, Africa on Scheduled Ten-Month Deployment

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS100216-04
Release Date: 2/16/2010 4:45:00 PM

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

GULFPORT, Miss. (NNS) -- Seabees assigned to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 7 deployed from Gulfport, Miss., to various locations throughout Europe and Africa as part of the battalion's regularly scheduled 2010 deployment.

The Seabees' deployment, recently extended from six months to ten, will encompass a variety of projects according to NMCB 7 Executive Officer Lt. Cmdr. Stephen Pitman.

"We will be going to support various task forces with general engineering and construction," he said. "Our Seabees are building projects to strengthen relationships with countries in Europe and Africa."

While a majority of NMCB 7's Seabees are going to Europe and Africa, the battalion deployed an air detachment of approximately 80 members to assist in Operation Unified Response nearly a month prior to the battalion's actual deployment.

"The air detachment capability is something all construction battalions have," Pitman said. "It allows us to respond quickly to any military or humanitarian need in the world. In the case of Haiti, one important aspect of our training that made our arrival beneficial to the Haitians was our ability to secure our own living and working areas, and to deploy a self-sufficient for 30 days. Essentially, we arrived able to help and not make the situation more difficult."

Seabees with NMCB 7 spent eleven months training for the deployment to Africa and Europe.

"We began to train knowing we were deploying to Europe and Africa," Pitman said. "So we tailored our training to prepare us for those missions. We're very prepared in the areas most Seabees generally train in and we have added additional training for the types of work in specific areas our Seabees may be working in. For example, we have had extensive training to improve our medical posture of our details in Africa."

A normal Seabee deployment is usually an average of approximately six months, but this deployment will be longer, according to Pitman.

"We're scheduled to be deployed for ten months," he said. "The extended deployment is part of the Seabee's overall adjustment to be able to provide more forces to support operations in Afghanistan."

Pitman also said battalion personnel have worked hard in preparing their families for the lengthy deployment.

"The reason Seabees exist is to deploy and do the things we do," he said. "It's not easy for families but our battalion, base and the Navy have many programs for families that are facing a deployment of their Seabee.

Pitman also said the battalion has an active Family Readiness Group and Family Readiness Officer. He added that NMCB 7 also hosted a pre-deployment fair to assist families in preparing for this deployment.

"We have two Ombudsmen who can assist families," Pitman said. "For a deployment, one of the most important measures we can take is ensuring family readiness, not just a Seabee's readiness."

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