Seabees, Marines Build Bridges, Camaraderie

By MCC(SW/AW) Scott Boyle, 25th NCR

Seabees from NMCB 133 and Marines from the 8th Engineer Support Battalion (ESB) Bridge Company work together to assemble a medium girder bridge during a joint training exercise, Camp Lejeune, N.C. Photos by MCC(SW/AW) Scott Boyle

During a joint exercise at Camp Lejeune, N.C., Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 133 Bridge Detachment Seabees and U.S. Marines with the 8th Engineer Support Battalion (ESB) Bridge Company connected a 107-foot-wide gap with a medium girder bridge, Feb. 13.

“Historically we have always been tied together…there is a reason why we are Naval as opposed to just Navy, so there is a lot of synergy there,” said Cmdr. Nick Yamodis, NMCB 133’s commanding officer. “We are reliving and reestablishing those relationships at the lower levels, with folks who have never worked together.”

The project followed Exercise Bold Alligator 2012, the largest naval amphibious exercise in the past 10 years, representing the Navy and Marine Corps’ revitalization of the full range of amphibious operations.

“The [Commandant of the Marine Corps] has talked about us getting back to our amphibious roots, and in order to do that we have to have a good working relationship with the Navy,” said Marine Corps 2nd Lt. Zachary Knight, 8th ESB Bridge Company’s executive officer. “Any chance we have to get joint training with the Seabees is great.”

Steelworker 1st Class Joshua Baker, bridge master for the joint build, oversaw the training and safety of all the Seabees and Marines.

“It makes me feel good to teach these guys,” SW1 Baker said. “They are working really well together.”

NMCB 133 Seabees and Marines from the 8th ESB Bridge Company assemble a medium girder bridge during a joint training exercise at Camp Lejeune, N.C.

Working together and learning about each service’s different tactics was a huge benefit of the project, which allowed the engineers to get real, hands-on training together.

“The cross-training with the Seabees shows what each unit does differently, and how we can work together better,” said Staff Sgt. Paul Cascell, 8th ESB Bridge Company platoon sergeant.

Bridging is one of the Seabees’ core capabilities. It has been, and still is, a big part of past and current deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan during Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom.

“[Bridging] is incredibly important in terms of mobility and being able to meet the mission, both at the pointy end of the spear as things are beginning to flow into a country and then from a sustainment standpoint, being able to maintain the fight or whatever the peacekeeping or training mission is,” Cmdr. Yamodis said.

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