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NMCB 74 Detail Sigonella Supports Operation Unified Protector

Navy News Service

Story Number: NNS110720-02

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Ryan G. Wilber

SIGONELLA, Sicily (NNS) -- Seabees assigned to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 74, Detail Sigonella, recently completed site preparations at Naval Air Station (NAS) Sigonella, for a 550-man tent camp in support of NATO Operation Unified Protector, June 20.

Operation Unified Protector, which commenced March 23, 2011, brought more than 25 ships and submarines and more than 50 fighter jets and surveillance planes to the area.

Seabees are the U.S. Navy's technical experts in horizontal construction and camp maintenance. That expertise drew the request to prepare a four-acre camp site to alleviate the burden.

Using graders, backhoes and medium tactical vehicle replacement dumps, six inches of topsoil was taken away and 3,400 cubic meters of select fill was spread and compacted in 15 days.

After 72 hours of joint efforts by the Seabees and Air Force personnel, 50 Basic Expeditionary Airfield Resources (BEAR) tents, and 15 shower and latrine tents were erected and ready for use.

"The Seabees at Naval Air Station Sigonella are priceless. Having the 'can do' spirit of a Navy Seabee Detachment has immediately saved Commander, Navy Region Europe $555,000 ... [and] they have been able to assist with camp construction and more than $700,000 worth of projects that are in the planning stages," said Lt. John Flynn, NAS Sigonella public works planning officer. "Without the Seabee detachment that money would be spent paying contractors to do the same work."

A camp site this size requires nearly constant upkeep. Lt. Bradley Roberts, Detail Sigonella officer-in-charge, said his crew has been running 24-hour operations to maintain generators, shower and latrine reservoirs, and answering trouble calls.

Detail Sigonella Assistant Officer-in-Charge Senior Chief Utilitiesman Andrew Detwiler said the detail is more than happy to lend their expertise in support of the operation.

"It is great to be able to help the NAS Sigonella command to relieve the berthing strain that Operation Unified Protector has brought to this base, and ultimately help the war fighter down range," said Detwiler.

Detail Sigonella will continue to berth and work from the camp until relieved later this year.

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