By UT3 Drew Verbis, NMCB 133 Task Force Anchor Public Affairs
CECN Elizabeth Leow, NMCB 133’s assistant yard boss at the Task Force Anchor material liaison office (MLO), ground guides a forklift operator lowering a massive bundle of concertina wire, Camp Krutke, Afghanistan. Photo by UT3 Drew Verbis
Task Force Anchor, comprised of Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 133 personnel, meets the demand for Seabee capabilities to support ongoing military operations in Afghanistan by establishing solid supply lines. The center of the effort resides in the material liaison office (MLO) aboard Camp Krutke, where pushing supply lines of mission essential materials is assigned to a small unit of experts from a diverse spectrum of training.
Builder 2nd Class Travis Johnson, MLO yard boss, said each of the nine Seabees has multiple responsibilities each day to complete tasking requirements.
“It would all but be impossible to complete missions as fast or with such ease as we do, if we didn’t come from such culturally diverse backgrounds, and [with] such a mixture of ratings,” said Chief Utilitiesman Laroy Brisco, MLO leading chief petty officer.
“Here at MLO, we work with a unique dynamic of military, civilians and foreign national personnel, which only add to our figurative tool box,” said Brisco.
MLO uses a variety of methods to acquire a staggering quantity of tools and materials required to support the needs of coalition forces and at the same time maintain a working stock able to support emergent missions. This includes using local vendors, adjacent supporting units such as the Marine Corps builder maintenance yard and overseas shipments. There are language barriers, deadlines, budgets, contracts and physical acquisition of materials normally picked up by the equipment operators on staff. At any one time, the department might be responsible for supplying multiple projects with thousands of pieces of materials worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.
“In a region like Afghanistan, there’s always a challenge to provide materials to our projects on camp and located at forward operating bases,” said Johnson. “It’s not an easy task.”
MLO has already processed nearly $1.2 million in construction materials for five different construction projects and outfitted those same projects with the necessary tools to complete the mission, inventoried most of a 5.8-acre yard housing more than $8 million in materials, and many additional chores since the NMCB 133’s arrival in Afghanistan.
“You see us working around the yard through the day, non-stop until after sunset,” said Lt.j.g. Mike Manzano, MLO division officer. “The next morning we come in early with smiles on our faces. Every day is a new day and this crew truly embodies the spirit and the legacy of the Seabees like no other.”