Story by Petty Officer 3rd Class Alexa Trafton
Senior Chief Constructionman Greggory Cooke, from Richland Center, Wisconsin, leads a platoon of Seabees assigned to the Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 1 Air Deployable Det. on a ruck march through Camp Mitchell at Naval Station Rota, Spain, March 10, 2017. NMCB 1 is forward deployed to execute construction, humanitarian and foreign assistance, special operations combat service support, and theater security cooperation’s in support of United States European Command. (Photo by Builder 3rd Class Alexa Trafton/170310-N-JQ001-006)
Seabees assigned to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 1, stood up an Air Deployable Det. for major contingencies on board Naval Station Rota, Spain, March 1, 2017.
NMCB 1 established the Air Deployable Det. as the command’s quick response team, providing a capable force for tactical and disaster relief efforts in Africa and Europe.
“We are the most forward deployed NMCB unit from Gulfport, that has the ability to support any situation,” said Senior Chief Constructionman Greggory Cooke, operations chief for NMCB 1 Air Deployable Det. “Whether it is tactical or disaster relief, having the air detachment gives us the capability to support that tasking, whenever it comes through.”
Typically, a battalion consists of one air det. of 89 deployable Seabees that are capable of departing within 48 hours upon notification of a request for support during an event. In addition to an air det., NMCB 1 established the Air Deployable Det. to provide a quick response force in the region for major contingencies that may arise.
“For us to get out the door, the rest of the battalion needs to participate in a 48 hour mount out, all the departments have to come together to make mount out successful,” said Cooke. “The Air Deployable Detachment just needs to be packed and ready, and we are.”
Prior to deployment, NMCB 1 underwent a homeport training schedule that ensured troops were prepared to meet operational requirements for construction and combat operations.
“I feel like we’ve had a good deal of training that has prepared us for this,” said Utilitiesman 2nd Class Jesse Goodman, from Lewisburg, Kentucky. “During homeport, we had a diversified training schedule between the blue force tracker classes, improvised explosive device detection classes and firearms qualifications for range courses. Each of these got us in the mindset and ready for what could come.”
Seabees assigned to Air Deployable Det. will draw from the knowledge and skills developed during homeport training and exercises to complete operational requirements.
“As far as convoy security element, urban combat skills prepared us for handling any situation that could be thrown at us, not just on the construction job side of things.” said Goodman.
The Air Deployable Det. provides NMCB 1 with a capable force for providing “fight tonight” efforts which are exercised in homeport with a mount out exercise that practices the logistics of deploying on short notice.