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NMCB 133 Seabees Conduct ADR Exercise on 6,000 foot Air Force Training Airfield

Navy News Service

Story Number: NNS170504-16
Release Date: 5/4/2017 2:02:00 PM

By Lt. Cmdr. Jennifer Cragg, Navy Expeditionary Combat Command Public Affairs

GULFPORT, Miss. (NNS) -- Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 133 deployed 104 personnel from Gulfport, Mississippi to Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida to participate in a multi-day Air Field Damage Repair Exercise (ADREX), April 24-27, using a 6,000-foot training airfield to evaluate and test new repair methods.

Cmdr. Eileen D'Andrea, assigned to Navy Expeditionary Combat Command worked closely with NMCB 133 and Naval Construction Group Two to coordinate the training opportunity emphasizing the importance of testing new repair methods.

"The training was invaluable to provide proof of concepts, and to refine the Naval Construction Force's ADR capabilities to adopt emerging requirements," said D'Andrea. "We cannot thank our Air Force partners enough for allowing us the opportunity to borrow their airfield, and the help they provided when we were trying out their repair methods."

In addition to learning new methods of ADR techniques, EOD technicians from Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit (EODMU) 6 also participated in the training.

"By far this was the best rehearsal of our ADR capabilities that I have seen," said D'Andrea.

Since its inception during the early days of World War II, Airfield Damage Repair has been one of the Seabees' core competencies. During the Vietnam War, the ability to keep runways operational to launch and recover aircraft was tested like never before.

In the early 1990s, during the Gulf War's Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, and after 9/11 during Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom, the United States and its allies enjoyed nearly complete air superiority. Hence, the need for these ADR skills was not tested as it had been in previous conflicts.

Fast forward to the present day as the United States faces potential threats around the globe where Seabees may be called upon once again to provide ADR services for our nation's and allies' expeditionary forces there has been a renewed focus on their ADR capabilities.

Lt. j.g. Hector Arellano, ADR officer-in-charge for the exercise discussed how the realistic training environment at Tyndall Air Force Base enhanced readiness for the ADR crew teams.

"The Airfield Damage Repair Exercise was a great opportunity for our battalion to send its full ADR organization to exercise on Tyndall Air Force Base's training airfield," said Arellano, who added it "gave us a very realistic training environment."

Collecting and understanding new airfield repair methods that will help to refine the Naval Construction Force's ADR capabilities is an important step for future training exercises.

Construction Electrician 2nd Class Jesse Culberson, who served as the Emergency Airfield Lighting System and Mobile Airfield Arresting System Crew Leader discussed how the training benefited his battalion.

"This training is valuable for the Seabees to perform and expand our ADR capabilities," said Culberson, who received training from Tyndall Air Force Base training staff on how to operate the various systems.

Builder Constructionman Aaron Manning, who served on the Spall Repair Team, echoed Culberson's comments on the value of the training.

"We learned that the efficient use of time was important in the spall process. Specific measuring procedures were also very important during repairs as well," said Manning. "This training was valuable given the current events going on around the world, and the potential for real life ADR scenarios."

For Construction Mechanic 2nd Class Jennifer Poulin, who served on the MOS Selection Team, she reflected on the training coordinated with EOD and other joint services, which in her opinion, was imperative to the success of the training.

"We learned that quick ADR is becoming a bigger deal, that working with joint forces is imperative to our success, and that realistic training has a big impact," said Poulin. "The training allowed us to see how we can work together for future operations."

Taking a new concept and turning it into a real-life scenario might have been challenging, but with the proper tools, capability, and mindset, the training was valuable, according to Equipment Operator 1st Class Brandon Martin, who served as the Support Crew Leader.

Equipment Operator Constructionman, Alisha Hanes, who served on the crater crew discussed the three "Ps" that were important to the success of the mission: "Practice, patience, and perseverance."

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