By Susan E. Lester, Center for Seabees and Facilities Engineering Public Affairs
Chief of Naval Personnel Vice Adm. Scott Van Buskirk (pictured above, center) visited the Engineering Duty Officer School, the Center for Seabees and Facilities Engineering (CSFE) and the Naval Construction Training Center (NCTC) during his time on Naval Base Ventura County (NBVC), Port Hueneme, Calif.
Capt. Thomas Brovarone, commanding officer, EDO, and Capt. Kevin Brown, commanding officer, CSFE, welcomed Van Buskirk, and provided him an overview of the history and missions of their respective Learning Centers.
“We had a great brief and tour with Vice Adm. Van Buskirk at both CSFE and NCTC Port Hueneme,” Brown said. “He took an active interest with our staff and students on how we meet our training mission. He is very supportive of our efforts to maintain a high quality of training and he was very forthcoming with the current and future budgetary challenges we have.”
Van Buskirk, accompanied by Capt. Larry Vasquez, commanding officer, NBVC, and Fleet Master Chief April Beldo, met with staff members of both organizations. Cmdr. Scott Loeschke, commanding officer, NCTC, escorted Van Buskirk on a tour of the Construction Mechanic, Builder, Utilitiesman and Steelworker training facilities. Course directors spent time engaging Van Buskirk and providing descriptions of the training process and equipment.
When asked by Van Buskirk what impact the civil service furloughs will have on Seabee training, Loeschke replied, “We’ll work through it, but it will certainly impact us. The big challenge is in piloting new courses. We will shift our experts’ schedules to make them available to meet Fleet requirements.”
During his tour of the Construction Mechanic laboratory, Van Buskirk asked Construction Mechanic 1st Class Chris Shaw how realistic the training equipment is.
“These are real engines. The idea is that if students touch every type of equipment we own in the Fleet, they will have a baseline knowledge to be able to work on the engines in all of our vehicles when they leave here,” Shaw explained.
Fleet Master Chief April Beldo actively engaged NCTC instructors throughout the tour asking them about their responsibilities, assignments and goals.
“The opportunity to see our Seabees producing and preparing for their mission is overwhelming,” Beldo said. “It just makes me want to start my career all over again!”
Vasquez added, “It’s great for leadership to come and see the professionalism and dedication of the Seabees. It’s very important to understand the skills and knowledge Seabees bring to the fight. They are at the forefront of Phase Zero Operations around the world. We just can’t get enough Seabees.”
CSFE is one of four Naval Education and Training Command (NETC) Learning Centers designated for the development, maintenance and delivery of course curriculum for the Naval Expeditionary Combat Command (NECC). CSFE manages training materials for the Civil Engineer Corps (CEC) and Seabees, and serves as headquarters for five subordinate Learning Sites responsible for providing technical and professional training for CEC Officers and Seabees. Seabees train jointly with Army and Air Force members during “A” School for Builders, Construction Electricians, Construction Mechanics, Engineering Aides, Equipment Operators and Utilitiesmen in accordance with an Interservice Training Requirements Organization (ITRO) agreement. NCTC Port Hueneme hosts the Air Force for Construction Mechanic training.
For more information on the Center for Seabees and Facilities Engineering, visit the CSFE website: https://www.netc.navy.mil/centers/csfe/.