Home / COVER FEATURE / NMCB 133 Honors Iwo Jima Seabees’ Memory with Black Hell Squad Competition

NMCB 133 Honors Iwo Jima Seabees’ Memory with Black Hell Squad Competition

By MC1 (SW) Cliff Williams, NMCB 133 Public Affairs

NMCB 133 honors Iwo Jima Seabees' memory with Black Hell Squad Competition

151005-N-EW956 Gulfport, Miss. – During the first day of the Black Hell Squad competition, Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 133 Yeoman 3rd Class Jorge Sosa programs an RF-310 radio during the command’s Black Hell Squad competition. Seabees were first tasked with setting up and loading the radio, followed by each squad member issuing reports in the proper format. (Photos by Construction Electrician 3rd Class Dustie Bond/Released)

On Feb. 19, 1945, the 133rd Naval Construction Battalion (NCB) joined the Fifth Marine Amphibious Corps and Fourth Marine Division for the amphibious assault on Iwo Jima. The entire force landed on Iwo Jima on D-Day with the first assault wave led by the Fourth Marine Division. The 133rd suffered severe casualties during the fight for Iwo Jima, where it distinguished itself in both frontline combat and construction. The 133rd had 370 casualties, more than 40 percent of the 875 men who landed, the highest percentage of casualties as part of a single battle in Seabee history.

Recently, Seabees assigned to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 133 paid homage to those who have gone before them by competing in the “Black Hell Squad” competition between squads within the battalion, commemorating the proud heritage of NMCB 133 and the Seabees from years past. The Black Hell Squad competition itself showcases Seabee tactical skills and their “Can Do” attitude.

NMCB 133 honors Iwo Jima Seabees' memory with Black Hell Squad Competition

151005-N-EW956 – Gulfport, Miss. – During Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 133’s Black Hell Squad competition, Builder Chief Chris Locke gives NMCB 133 Seabees instruction on the chemical, biological, radiological donning procedures and time limits during the command’s Black Hell Squad competition. Seabees had nine seconds to don their gas masks and nine minutes to properly don their CBR gear and modular tactical vest.

Throughout the five days, NMCB 133 Seabees conducted military training evolutions at various locations across Naval Construction Battalion Center Gulfport, Camp Shelby and Woolmarket to improve unit integrity, strengthen small unit leadership and maximize military readiness.

During the first day of competition, Seabees performed a five-mile run while wearing their modular tactical vest, mission oriented protective posture (MOPP) gas mask, uniforms and boots, stopping at four stations dispersed throughout the course.

NMCB 133 honors Iwo Jima Seabees' memory with Black Hell Squad Competition

151005-N-EW956 Gulfport, Miss. – Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 133 Seabees begin to disassemble the M4 carbine during the weapons familiarization portion of the command Black Hell Squad competition. During this station, Seabees were required to disassemble then reassemble the M9 pistol, M4 carbine, and M240 machine gun.

At the first station, Seabees were tasked with setting up and loading an RF-310 radio, followed by each squad member issuing reports in the proper format. Next, they were sent to the MOPP station, where they were required to don gas masks in less than nine seconds and achieve MOPP level 4 in less than nine minutes. The third stage was the weapons station where they were required to disassemble then reassemble the M9 pistol, M4 carbine and an M240 machine gun. Finally, they were administered the Seabee Combat Warfare (SCW) written test, addressing knowledge of personnel qualification standards.

“The first day was tough and I definitely felt my age,” said Equipment Operator 1st Class Drew Reyes, team member, Detail One, Squad Four. “I am proud of my team; we worked together, supported each other and picked each other up when they were down. This team definitely hammered it.”

NMCB 133 honors Iwo Jima Seabees' memory with Black Hell Squad Competition

151005-N-EW956 Gulfport, Miss.  – During Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 133’s Black Hell Squad competition, Construction Mechanic 2nd Class Matthew Kuzicki gives a buddy check to Equipment Operator 3rd Class Durant Freeman during the chemical, biological, radiological portion of the command’s Black Hell Squad competition. Each squad had nine seconds to don their gas masks and nine minutes to properly don their CBR gear and modular tactical vest.

During the second day, they were sent to the Woolmarket rifle and pistol range where each squad patrol maneuvered through the training area into the counter-improvised explosive device (IED) course where they had to react to an IED scenario. After the IED course, the squads proceeded to firing range qualification course.

On day three, Seabees were directed to set up a squad level defense. Using only their entrenching tools, they were ordered to build foxholes and each squad was graded on their defensive positioning and proper sectors of fire.

The fourth day, the competitors were sent to Camp Shelby to participate in the Leadership Reaction Course (LRC) where squads participated in various scenarios. The goal of the LRC is not necessarily to successfully navigate the course, but to show leadership and teamwork qualities such as taking charge, making decisions, and effectively operating as a team.

Finally, on day five, NMCB 133 Seabees performed a five kilometer aid and litter run, carrying their squad leader in a litter while in full gear.

NMCB 133 honors Iwo Jima Seabees' memory with Black Hell Squad Competition

151006-N-EW956 – Gulfport, Miss. – Construction Mechanic 1st Class Aaron Wymore, from Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 133, removes dirt using his entrenching tool while digging a foxhole for his squad during the Black Hell Squad competition. During the third day of competition, each squad was directed to set a squad level defense.

NMCB 133 honors Iwo Jima Seabees' memory with Black Hell Squad competition

151006-N-EW956 – Gulfport, Miss. – Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 133 Seabees, Equipment Operator 1st Class Drew Reyes, Construction Mechanic 2nd Class Matthew Kuzicki, and Construction Mechanic 3rd Class Hunter Patterson, discuss fireplan and sectors of fire during the command’s Black Hell Squad competition.

“As Seabees, we have a very rich history and this competition reminds all of us what these Seabees sacrificed,” said Detail One Squad Two member Construction Electrician 3rd Class Dustie Bond, whose team received fifth place honors. “Of course, I’m a little bummed that we didn’t win, but I think everyone on our squad had some fun, learned some history, and got to know each other a little better. Plus, there was a lot of tough competition.”

After the completion of the five day event, Detail One Squad Four, led by Construction Mechanic 2nd Class Matthew Kuzicki, was named NMCB 133’s Black Hell Squad and was awarded the Black Hell Squad Pennant. The pennant will be displayed proudly on their company guidon as they prepare to deploy in early 2016.

NMCB 133 honors Iwo Jima Seabees' memory with Black Hell Squad competition

151008-N-ZZ99-023 – Camp Shelby – During the fourth day of the Black Hell Squad competition, Seabees from Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 133, Detail One Squad Two, work together to set a bridge across two pillars in a station of the Leadership Reaction Course (LRC) at Camp Shelby. The goal of the LRC is not necessarily to successfully navigate the course, but to show leadership qualities such as taking charge, making decisions, and leading a team effectively.  

NMCB 133 honors Iwo Jima Seabees' memory with Black Hell Squad competition

151009-N-EW956- Gulfport, Miss. – Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 133 Seabees, Equipment Operator 1st Class Drew Reyes and Construction Mechanic Constructionman Enochlee Umphrey, help carry Equipment Operator 3rd Class Kyle Dubay across the finish line during the last day of the command’s Black Hell Squad competition. The competition is homage to the 133rd NCB who joined the Fifth Marine Amphibious Corps and the Fourth Marine Division for the amphibious assault on Iwo Jima. The 133rd had 370 casualties, more than 40 percent of the 875 men that landed, the highest casualties as part of a single battle in Seabee history.

NMCB 133 honors Iwo Jima Seabees' memory with Black Hell Squad competition

151009-N-EW956- Gulfport, Miss. – During the aid and litter run, Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 133’s Equipment Operator 1st Class Malcom H. McDaniel gets a little motivation from Chief Hospital Corpsman Charlotte Reijo during the last day of the Black Hell Squad competition. 

NMCB 133 honors Iwo Jima Seabees' memory with Black Hell Squad competition

151009-N-EW956- Gulfport, Miss. – On the last day of the Black Hell Squad competition, Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 133 Seabees perform a five kilometer aid and litter run, carrying their squad leader while in full gear. 


Check Also

IDC from 22 NCR Leads Training with Navy Corpsman and Norwegians

Story by MCCS Jeffrey Pierce, 22 NCR Public Affairs Officer

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.