By Shane Montgomery, NCG 1 Public Affairs
30th Naval Construction Regiment (NCR) Command Master Chief Curtis Cassell holds a flag bag as 31st Seabee Readiness Group (SRG) Command Master Chief Corey Heinrich retires the 31st SRG Colors inside. Rear Admiral Mark Handley, commander, 1st Naval Construction Division was the guest of honor at the historic ceremony held at the main parade ground. During the ceremony, the 31st SRG and the 30th NCR combined to make a new organization, Naval Construction Group (NCG) 1. NCG 1 will continue training, providing logistics and operational support to Seabees in the Western two-thirds of the United States as well as all Naval Construction Forces in the Pacific. Photo by MC1 Christopher Fahey
Naval Construction Group (NCG) 1 was established during a historic ceremony that integrated two Seabee commands, March 11, at Naval Base Ventura County (NBVC) Port Hueneme’s main grinder.
The 31st Seabee Readiness Group (31st SRG), responsible for training, equipping and maintaining the readiness of the Pacific Naval Construction Force, combined with the 30th Naval Construction Regiment (30NCR), responsible for operational command and control of the Pacific-deployed Naval Construction Force, merged to create NCG 1.
“This is not just a name change,” said Capt. Dean Tufts, Commander of NCG 1. “It’s an organizational shift to maximize our Seabee readiness and create an even stronger unity of command on the West Coast and into the Pacific.”
Tufts, who will serve as the first commander of NCG 1, explained that the best of the West for Seabee training, logistics and operations would now be integrated.
While both 30NCR and 31st SRG currently oversee a total of about 3,000 active duty and reserve military as well as civilians, NCG 1 will oversee 7,000 personnel starting in April. The total includes all Seabees in the Western two-thirds of the United States, as well as all of the Naval Construction Forces in the Pacific.
The new command will be the sister command to NCG 2, which established a couple weeks earlier in Gulfport, MS. While NCG 1 will oversee the Pacific, NCG 2 oversees the Atlantic, effectively splitting command and control of all Seabee units (active and reserve) between both NCGs.
“Today is about change and today we are going to be making history,” said Rear Adm. Mark Handley, Commander, 1st Naval Construction Division. “This change will make us stronger and more capable.”
Handley, guest of honor for the ceremony, explained that since World War II, the Naval Construction force numbers have increased and decreased based on need and that Seabees must be flexible to remain relevant.
While 30NCR will essentially continue its current mission as a part of NCG 1, the ability to have singular focus is expected to have long term positive impact as they move forward.
“Over the past decade, the Regiment has had to look over its shoulder for an upcoming deployment to Iraq or Afghanistan and could only manage partial focus on the Pacific,” said Capt. Rod Moore, 30NCR’s Commander. “Now when we look over our shoulder in the future, we will instead see out teammates at the new Naval Construction Group ONE where we are forging these two capable units into a mutually supportive relationship.”
Moore will serve both as 30NCR’s Commander and NCG 1’s Deputy Commander.
Tufts wanted the crowed to understand that the 31st SRG was not being decommissioned, but instead undergoing a transformation as it has so many times in history. From its beginnings as the 31st Naval Construction Regiment in 1944, to the 31st SRG in 2003 and now today as NCG 1, no matter what the name, the command will continue to prepare Pacific Fleet Naval Construction Force units to conduct construction in support of Combatant Commanders to win America’s wars.
“10 Years ago, in March 2003, we watched the TV coverage of the ‘Shock and Awe’ campaign in Bagdad which kicked off Operation Iraqi Freedom,” said Tufts as he looked out over the crowed. “I am reminded since then, Seabees have regularly deployed to places like Iraq, Afghanistan and the Horn of Africa. In fact, about three quarters of these Seabees standing before you have deployed to a combat zone… many of them two and three times. I am so proud and honored to be associated with [these Seabees] and our new command. I look forward to shaping the future of the Naval Construction Force with them.”