NMCB 7 Det Prepares Camp Moreell for Final Turnover

By MCC Yan M. Kennon, NMCB 7

Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) and MRAP-All Terrain Vehicles (M-ATV) are loaded on trailers to be transferred from the custody of NMCB 7 Detachment Moreell to Maritime Security Forces at Ali Al Salem Air Base, Kuwait, in preparation of the upcoming closure of Camp Moreell.  Photo by UTCN Amanda Murphy

Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 7 has started the multi-faceted task of turning over Camp Moreell, a Seabee facility located adjacent to Life Support Area (LSA)-Kuwait, to another military organization, June 30.

An arduous task that began in early January with the battalion’s contingency deployment to the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) area of responsibility, turnover preparations and procedures encompass the safe and environmentally efficient close-out of each vertical and mobile structure at the camp, in conjunction with the retrograde of multi-million dollar equipment and tools back to stateside facilities. While the detachment focuses on this tasking, it must simultaneously perform camp maintenance, ensure the proper functions of its facilities, and oversee the welfare of the various incoming troops moving to and from the Southwest Asia theater of operations.

“Closing Camp Moreell for the Seabees is a humbling task,” said Lt. Cmdr. Sean Dalton, Detachment Moreell officer in charge (OIC). “It has been a huge part of Seabee efforts in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF), Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) and Operation New Dawn (OND). Nearly every Seabee serving in either theater for the past 10 years has come through Camp Moreell, and it’s an honor to be a part of this namesake location.”

As a main transit hub for the Naval Construction Force (NCF), Camp Moreell is a fully operational NCF facility that has coordinated and tracked more than 3,000 personnel transients within the last three months, including Seabees assigned to NMCBs 1, 4, 7 and 11, along with the 22nd  and 30th Naval Construction Regiments (NCRs).

Keeping the facility self-sufficient is the primary job of the detachment’s camp maintenance personnel.  Since arriving at Camp Moreell, the maintenance department has logged and completed more than 600 trouble calls, accumulating more than 500 man-days of labor, including the upkeep on 12 head/shower facilities and more than 80 air conditioning units, which are vital to quality of life within the region due to horrid weather conditions in the summer months. Trouble call tickets range from minor electrical issues to the recent $10K sewage discharge system overhaul, which saw the installation of two grinder pumps and associated plumbing, with minimum impact to daily operations during the upgrade.

Detachment Moreell’s supply department has tracked, received and outfitted more than 2,000 Seabees with Enhanced Small Arms Protective Insert (ESAPI) Plates as they deploy and redeploy to and from the region, while maintaining an inventory of more than $7M.  During routine inspection and scanning, Detachment Moreell’s supply department identified 30 percent of its ESAPI inventory that failed to meet manufacturer specifications and removed from inventory, possibly saving the lives of fellow Seabees as they venture into imminent danger zones throughout Southwest Asia. The detachment’s supply department has successfully transferred 20 20-foot Conex boxes and more than 4,800 line items, totaling more than $850K, of equipment and materials to LSA-Kuwait’s Defense Reutilization and Marketing Office (DRMO).

The detachment’s Alfa Company prepares major construction equipment for retrograde, while maintaining essential gear and associated support equipment.  To date, Alfa has completed more than 150 planned maintenance procedures, while closing out four operational work centers.  Alfa has transferred 11 pieces of Civil Engineering Support Equipment (CESE) and 16 tractor trailers of excess and non-operational equipment to DRMO for proper disposal. In addition, Alfa Company has transferred 30 fully operational Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) and MRAP-All Terrain Vehicles (M-ATV) to the MRAP Support Facility (MSF) for upgrades and storage.

The communications department has turned over more than $100K in communication equipment and materials to DRMO, and retrograded more than $120K in calibrated test equipment and communication gear back to Naval Construction Battalion Center (NCBC) Gulfport, Miss., NMCB 7’s homeport, to be re-issued to other operational Seabee battalions.  The department continues to monitor and maintain more than $30K in essential and quality-of-life communications equipment for local tenant use until camp turnover is complete.

“Currently, we are ahead of turnover schedule and have met all deadlines set to date,” said Ens. Matthew Catenese, Detachment Moreell operations officer. “Good communication and relationships with 25NCR (FWD), and the new tenant have been critical to our success.

“This turnover has given these Seabees hurdles many of them have never seen before, and they are attacking each one and finishing ahead of schedule,” said Ens. Catenese. “Not only are they maintaining this 56-acre camp, they are also looking at the overall turnover of everything within the fence line and supporting associated exercises, while remaining vigilant on essential training and personal qualifications.  No matter what environment you put these troops in, no matter what job you give them and no matter where you put them they always seem to get it done.”

Camp Moreell, which has served as the main Seabee ground base and assembly point for all Seabee units deploying across Southwest Asia for the last decade, was originally constructed in November 2002.  It was named in honor of Admiral Ben Moreell, Chief of the U.S. Navy Bureau of Yards and Docks and of the Civil Engineer Corps.  Adm. Moreell is best known as the “Father of the Seabees.”

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