By MCCS(SCW/SW) Jeffrey Pierce, 22nd NCR Public Affairs Officer
Seabees from the 22nd Naval Construction Regiment (NCR) participated in JCX-S 2016 in Seville, Spain, April 4-8. JCX-S 2016 was sponsored by Spain’s UME as a disaster-response exercise. The 22nd NCR served as the lead U.S. Navy engineering command and control headquarters assigned under the operational control of CTF 68. (From left to right) Lt. Cmdr. Juan Gomez Valderas, Spanish liaison and interpreter; Lt. Roland Rosalez, CTF 68 Force Protection Officer; Capt. Lore Aguayo, 22 NCR Commander; Lt. Gen. Miguel Alcaniz Comas, UME Commander; Capt. Leonard Lyon, CTF 68 Commander, and Lt. Col. Richard Potterton from the 7th Mission Support Command. (Official Navy photo/Released).
Seabees from the 22nd Naval Construction Regiment (NCR) participated in Joint Combined Exercise South (JCX-S) 2016 in Seville, Spain, April 4-8.
JCX-S 2016 was sponsored by Spain’s Unidad Militar de Emergencias (UME), or Military Emergencies Unit, as a disaster-response exercise. UME is the newest branch of the Spanish armed forces and is responsible for providing disaster relief throughout the country of Spain and abroad if required.
The 22nd NCR served as the lead U.S. Navy engineering command and control headquarters assigned under the operational control of Commander, Task Force (CTF) 68.
The intent of the exercise was to strengthen relationships and interoperability in the conduct of global contingency operations. JCX-S focused on disaster-response mission sets that could be performed in support of Spanish authorities, and used joint and combined military participation, as well as interagency and ministerial participation.
Throughout the exercise, 22nd NCR led engineering sets aligned to exercise objectives by employing the construction force capabilities of Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 133 and Underwater Construction Team (UCT) 1, Construction Dive Det (CDD) Bravo. The engineering force of 49 Seabees deployed from Naval Construction Battalion Center, Gulfport, Mississippi and Naval Station Rota, Spain to set up a command operations center (COC) at the Gran Hipodromo de Andalucia in Seville that served as the base of operations for the exercise.
The Seabees’ role in JCX-S was to deliver additional engineering capacity once Spain’s UME reached a “Level III” emergency status. At the “Level III” status, it is expected that the Spanish government would request assistance via the U.S. State Department. Once requested, U.S. forces could be used to aid in the efforts to save lives, prevent human suffering and make repairs to needed infrastructure.
During the exercise, NMCB 133’s detachment, led by Lt. Gregory Schultz, provided the necessary line-haul assets, satellite communication equipment and civil engineer support equipment used to setup the operations center and begin clearing simulated road debris within the city.
UCT1’s CDD Bravo, led by Chief Builder Joshua Sisson, was assigned to dive and survey the Gergahl Dam for structural weaknesses following the scenario-based earthquake. Before CCD Bravo was able to complete their original mission they were redirected to join Spanish divers and conduct a simulated search and recovery mission.
According to Sisson, any opportunity to work with divers from another nation allows for shared knowledge and is a good experience for all involved.
“We benefitted tremendously from our joint diving operations with the Spanish divers. Any chance my team has to work jointly with another unit brings a vast amount of experience, ideas and knowledge,” said Sisson. “The Spanish divers bring a plethora of diving experience to the table ranging from searching operations to disaster recovery and that experience and knowledge was shared openly. For this we were grateful.”
Lt. Cmdr. Kevin Kent served as 22nd NCR’s Logistics Officer and as CTF 68’s Supply Officer for the exercise.
Kent was very pleased with the effort put forth by the regiment’s personnel and their accomplishments during this exercise.
“I’m proud of what we did and the team we sent over. They were trained professionals and our experiences will contribute greatly to future exercises,” Kent said. “I’m looking forward to the next opportunity to exercise 22nd NCR’s command and control abilities.”
Led by Capt. Lore Aguayo, the team provided command and control of assigned forces executing the requested engineer services.
According to Aguayo, this is the first time CTF 68 invited 22 NCR to play as a forward command element, which aligns perfectly with 22 NCR’s mission statement. Aguayo couldn’t have been happier with the result.
“I wanted to ensure 22nd NCR had a well trained staff. I was able to scale my command to meet the requirements of the exercise,” Aguayo said. “We were well trained and I was very proud to see the team effort form a cohesive unit. I set clear expectations before the exercise began and my team more than exceeded my expectations.”
Providing command and control (C2) of expeditionary forces is what the 22nd NCR is designed to do.
According to Aguayo, exercises such as this one allow the command to hone in on C2 and staff planning skills.
“I am very grateful for the opportunity to partner and train with CTF 68. Our teams were able to work side by side to enhance our C2 capabilities,” Aguayo said.
The 22nd NCR maintains a ready and deployable battle staff responsible for providing command and control of expeditionary forces in support of component commanders and joint task forces across a full range of military operations and defense support of civil authorities.