By CE3 (SCW) Quennie May Galarpe, NMCB 5 Public Affairs
EO2 Michael Hooper, NMCB 5, scans for threats while training at the urban skills training area on Naval Base Ventura County, Calif., Aug. 20. Photo by MC1 John P. Curtis
Seabees are known for their contingency construction skills. They build roads and bridges, improve combat bases and maintain utilities. This can’t happen unless they can securely transport personnel, equipment and materials. This is where a Seabee battalion’s convoy security element takes over.
Starting July 28 Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 5’s convoy security element (CSE) began a month-long, four-phase training module that began in the classrooms of Naval Base Ventura County (NBVC), Calif. Training continued on to CSE live fire at the Seabee small arms range, then to combat convoy simulator and on to “Combat Town,” in NBVC Point Mugu. The battalion concluded in a field training exercise the last week of August in the hilly terrains of Fort Hunter Liggett, Calif.
The ultimate purpose of this training was to educate the Seabees on the application of techniques, tactics and procedures essential to operating efficiently as a CSE to improve the battalion’s war fighting competence and train for convoy operations in a combat environment. NMCB 5 is ultimately preparing for its upcoming field training exercise (FTX) this fall and a future deployment.
The 58 Seabees assigned to CSE learned the employment of the M-9 service pistol and the M-4 service rifle during the first phase of training. Moving from the classroom to the open fields of Naval Construction Training Center to the small arms shooting range, they applied techniques such as transitioning from one weapon to the other while continuing to engage a target, shooting while moving and firing in close quarters.
BUCN Mercedes Berstecher, NMCB 5, fires the M-4 carbine during a CSE field training exercise, Fort Hunter Liggett, Calif., Aug. 27. Photo by CE3 (SCW) Quennie May Galarpe
The second phase of training took place at the combat convoy simulator. This training included a planning phase where CSE personnel developed standard operating procedures, created terrain models, and conducted immediate action drills and a mission brief. Seabees executed their missions in a life-like virtual environment shown on eight separate movie screens surrounding them.
Following a week in the simulator, they donned their heavy armor vest and thick combat helmets and went to the home station training lanes, more commonly known as “Combat Town.” There, they learned tactics necessary to operate in a hostile urban environment by jumping over walls, crawling through windows and entering dark buildings.
After hurdling urban skills training, the CSE deployed 224 miles north to Fort Hunter Liggett on Aug. 23 for the fourth and final phase of comprehensive training.
SWCN Patrick Moreno, NMCB 5, keeps watch on a door while the rest of the CSE clear the building during training at the urban skills training area on Naval Base Ventura County, Calif., Aug. 20. Photo by MC1 John P. Curtis
Lt. Daniel Groszek, NMCB 5, briefs the CSE on that day’s mission during a field training exercise, Fort Hunter Liggett, Calif., Aug. 26. Photo by CE3 (SCW) Quennie May Galarpe
Loaded with blank rounds, NMCB 5 ‘Bees applied the skills they had been painstakingly developing and used them while traversing the hilly landscapes of the 165,000-acre training range. Here, temperatures ranged from a high of 94 degrees to a low of 50 degrees.
Exhausted and accomplished from five days of intense training, NMCB 5 CSE arrived home on Aug. 28. They returned as a strong, unshakable team of motivated and skilled individuals, courageous leaders and undeniably committed Seabees.