NMCB 3 Crane Team Makes Light Work of Heavy Lifting, Saves Taxpayers $40K

Story and photos by MC1 Chris Fahey, NMCB 3 Public Affairs

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EO2 Renee Harrison, left, mentors EOCN Lucas Mora, both assigned to NMCB 3′s crane crew, as he operates a 40-ton hydraulic crane to replace a 6,000-pound transformer that powers portions of Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, Japan, Nov. 21. 

Seabees from Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 3′s crane crew saved taxpayers an estimated $40,000 after using a mobile 40-ton hydraulic crane to replace a 6,000 pound transformer for Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, Japan.

Kadena’s Air Force engineers tapped the Seabees for help after realizing they didn’t have the required capabilities to replace the failing transformer that provided critical power to specific areas of the base.

The Seabees’ ability to quickly respond to the request prevented Kadena officials from having to contract the job to civilian crane operators, thereby saving taxpayers from picking up the bill.

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EO2 Class Renee Harrison, rear, directs EO3 Sonya De Costa, both assigned to NMCB 3′s crane crew, while backing up a 40-ton hydraulic crane.

The five Seabees assigned to the crane team performed a total of four lifts during a 24-hour operating window.

“My team is the best-of-the-best,” said EO1 Manuel Figueroa, NMCB 3 crane crew supervisor. “We’ve trained to a point where we’ve set a new benchmark in our ability to safely conduct heavy lifts. This capability has made us a sought after asset to the local units here in Okinawa, and we are more than happy to lend a hand.”

The team’s mobile hydraulic crane has a total lift capacity of 80,000 pounds and can be driven nearly anywhere throughout Okinawa.

According to Figueroa, his crew’s performance relies heavily on their patience and meticulous nature.

“You can’t rush a heavy lift,” he said. “Every inch of the move is dangerous. Our attention to detail and patience keeps us from making mistakes. When you are moving thousands of pounds, even the smallest mistake could result in either sever injury or massive damage.”

NMCB 3′s main body is deployed to Okinawa with nine details performing critical construction projects in remote island areas such as Timor-Leste, Tonga, Cambodia and the Philippines. The teams are also conducting operations in Atsugi and Yokosuka, Japan; Chinhae, Republic of Korea and China Lake, Calif.

The Naval Construction Force is a vital component of the U.S. Maritime Strategy. They provide deployable battalions capable of providing disaster preparation and recovery support, humanitarian assistance and combat operations support.

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EOCN Lucas Mora, NMCB 3, obeys the direction of his guide while operating a 40-ton hydraulic crane.

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EO2 Renee Harrison, left, and EO2 Charles Post, NMCB 3, secure the rigging shoe of a 40-ton hydraulic crane before replacing a 6,000-pound transformer.

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Seabees assigned to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 3′s crane crew use a 40-ton hydraulic crane to replace a 6,000-pound transformer that powers portions of Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, Japan. 

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Seabees assigned to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 3′s crane crew lock down the rigging shoe of a 40-ton hydraulic crane