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Final Deployment Completed in Rota for NMCB 74

Navy News Service

Story Number: NNS140625-05
Release Date: 6/25/2014 9:59:00 AM

By Chief Mass Communication Specialist William Clark, Naval Station Rota Public Affairs

NAVAL STATION ROTA, Spain (NNS) -- The final deployment of Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 74 ended June 24 during a transfer of authority ceremony with Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 133, at Camp Mitchell aboard Naval Station Rota, Spain.

As the flag detail lowered the battalion flag, it marked the end of NMCB 74's final deployment prior to being decommissioned next month, and the beginning of NMCB 133's deployment here in Rota.

'Bittersweet,' described Cmdr. David McAlister, commanding officer of NMCB 74. 'This turnover not only represented the culmination of NMCB 74's current deployment, but the culmination of NMCB 74's proud history during World War II and since 1966.'

Homeported in Gulfport, Mississippi, NMCB 74 was originally commissioned April 28, 1943 and was deactivated Oct. 31, 1945, before being commissioned again Dec. 6, 1966. The 'Fearless 74' will decommission July 25 following more than 70 years of service.

McAlister addressed the battalion describing their high standard of execution of the mission and 'enhancing the Seabee legacy through positive presence at each location.' He told the Seabees to 'take pride in knowing you served your nation well, maximized every opportunity during our final deployment, and truly honored those that have gone before us.'

NMCB 133, also homeported in Gulfport, Mississippi, relieved NMCB 74 and assumed command of Camp Mitchell as well as ongoing Seabee missions throughout four combatant commands in Africa, Bahrain, Europe and Guam.

McAlister exchanged salutes with NMCB 133 Commanding Officer, Cmdr. Jeff Powell, in front of Capt. Gregory Sandway, commander, Naval Expeditionary Task Force Europe and Africa, during the ceremony. Sandway recounted all the projects the 'Fearless' Seabees accomplished on their final deployment during his speech.

'[NMCB 74] was instrumental in setting initial conditions for the Aegis Ashore missile defense program. This project is important to our nation and our partner nations, and you contributed greatly to its progress,' said Sandway.

NMCB 74 also constructed facilities and improved infrastructure for the arrival of the Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS Ross (DDG 71) this month. The battalion completed an operations center in Cameroon, overcoming logistics and extreme conditions, he said. Sandway noted the 'great rapport with Cameroon's operations forces ... will improve our ability to provide enhanced offshore security with an important partner nation.'

The 'battalion completed a challenging deployment ... truly a mark of a great unit,' said Sandway. 'Everyone of you should be beaming with pride at what you accomplished in NMCB 74's final deployment; well done Fearless!'

NMCB 74 Command Master Chief Helen Daniel traveled to visit with NMCB 74's deployed Seabees on their final mission and was proud of what she saw. The professional manner of all the work and projects was seen as a 'direct line of leadership,' said Daniel, and 'a reflection of senior enlisted' at NMCB 74.

As NMCB 133's battalion flag flew over Camp Mitchell, Powell completed his turnover and thanked NMCB 74 for their warm welcome to Rota and acknowledged the work NMCB 133 is ready to begin. With projects in Djibouti, Niger, Cameroon, Israel, Romania, and Bahrain, NMCB 133 said they are ready to meet the challenges of deployment.

NMCB 133's battalion's last deployment was to Afghanistan and Powell said this 'deployment to Rota to conduct peacetime deployment construction will be challenging with the wide range of standard and codes' with the widespread areas of operation.

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