By Ens. Humberto Baeza, NMCB 5 Public Affairs
Seabees assigned to NMCB 5 and Marines from the Combat Assault Battalion (CAB) conduct an urban mobility breaching exercise. Photo by Ensign Humberto Baeza
Seabees from Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 5 conducted inter-service training with the U.S. Marine Corps Combat Assault Battalion (CAB) in Okinawa, Japan, Feb. 20-22. During this educational exchange, NMCB 5 troops taught Marines how to construct Southwest Asia (SWA) huts, while CAB Marines demonstrated their demolition skills used to conduct urban mobility breaching – what Marines refer to informally as UMBC or Urban Mobility Breaching Course.
“The training we received from the Marines on UMBC opened our eyes to the dangers they face,” said Builder 3rd Class David Domagala, NMCB 5. “Overall, everyone came away from this training exercise with a new-found respect for the other service.”
Upon arrival to the demolition range, Seabee and Marines offloaded their builder’s tool kit and lumber, and began their construction classes. Within minutes both services were working side by side under the guidance of crew leader Domagala. They completed construction of the SWA hut in about five hours.
On day two, Seabees received extensive training on building urban breaching shots, initiating systems, burn rates and the proper employments of demolition.
“It improved the Marines confidence in their knowledge of UMBC, because they had to communicate that knowledge to the Seabees,” said 1st Lt. Jonathan Bisulca, 3rd platoon commander, Combat Engineer Company.
Under the supervision of CAB Marines, Seabees constructed six distinct charges from scratch. The power of the charges ranged from a simple doughnut breaching charge to a much more destructive concrete charge. Once completed, Seabees were instructed on the proper utilization of a blast blanket and determining the stand-off distance from the blast. Working side by side and under the watchful eyes of the Marines, the Seabees conducted urban breaching training on the constructed SWA hut.
Marine Capt. Benjamin Nichols, NMCB 5’s assistant operations officer, previously served with the CAB and shared a unique perspective of the event.
“It was special for me to witness the Seabees of NMCB 5 teach construction, while the Marines of CAB expose the Seabees to their expertise in urban breaching,” Said Nichols.
This joint exercise offered an opportunity for the Marines and Seabees to build camaraderie.
“Bravo Zulu to the Marines and Seabee crew,” said Steelworker 2nd Class Brandin Salazar, assistant officer in charge, NMCB 5. “I hope for more opportunities to cross train with Marines.”
BUCN David Domagala, NMCB 5, constructs a Southwest Asia Hut to be used for urban mobility breaching training. Photo by Ensign Humberto Baeza