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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

More Seabees Deploy to Persian Gulf

By Chief Journalist Daniel Charles Ross, SEABEE Magazine

Story Number: NNS030128-13

Release Date: 1/29/2003 10:15:00 AM

NORFOLK, Va. (NNS) -- Nearly 1,000 Seabees are now deployed to the Arabian Gulf region in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

As buildup in the region continues, hundreds of additional Seabees are expected to head out in the next several weeks, according to 1st Naval Construction Division (1NCD) public affairs officer Daryl Smith.

Based in Norfolk, Va., 1NCD is the new Seabee central command established in August.

"Historically, Seabees have been at the tip of the spear in every major U.S. military operation since World War II," Smith said. "When large numbers of U.S. forces deploy, they need infrastructure to be built, such as roads, bridges, airstrips and camps."

Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 4 and Naval Construction Force Support Unit 2, currently in Port Hueneme, Calif., along with NMCB-133, currently in Gulfport, Miss., have received orders to deploy to the Arabian Gulf area. In addition, more Seabees from Construction Battalion Maintenance Unit 303, based in San Diego, received deployment orders to augment members of their unit already in the region.

Seabees from NMCB-133 were among the first sent to Afghanistan last year to repair airfields and roads for use by American forces in the region.

"The Seabees' orders are to support our government's war against terrorism and prepare for any future contingencies," said Linda Wadley, spokesperson for Naval Construction Battalion Center, Port Hueneme, Calif.

Seabees from NMCB-5 redeployed to the area from Rota, Spain, in September. Some Seabees from NMCB-74 redeployed to the Middle East from Guam in October. Another Seabee battalion is already on routine deployment in Okinawa, Japan.

Seabees are famous for their expertise in construction of bases, airfields and more, especially under harsh or hostile conditions. As current events develop in the Arabian Gulf, Seabee units are among thousands of "first responders" working in several Mideast locations.

"Seabees possess a wide range of construction and defensive capabilities that make them an essential part of most large-scale military efforts," Smith said. "Providing construction support to U.S. forces during contingency operations is the reason Seabees exist. They are eager to put their training and experience into action protecting America and its allies."

"Our Seabees are a force to be reckoned with on two fronts," said Master Chief Petty Officer of the Seabees Harrell T. Richardson. "Our motto is 'We build, we fight,' and that's why Seabees are needed in the early stages of a conflict. When push comes to shove, Seabees can build an airfield and, when necessary, defend it."

Engaged in the earliest tasks in the region, elements of NMCB-74 recently placed concrete for an Air Force C-130 Hercules cargo aircraft staging area - the largest single-battalion concrete project since World War II. The project is being conducted in an undisclosed location.

The Lockheed Martin C-130 Hercules series of military transport aircraft is a mammoth tactical airlifter that has been in continuous production since its introduction in the mid-1950s. More than 70 different configurations have been built, ranging from satellite retrieval and "hurricane hunters" to ski-configured versions for landing in Antarctica.

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