By CECN Celena Gregory
(From left) Project Supervisor BUC Rouel Agustin and Crew Leader BU2 Carl Watson look on as Naval Facilities Engineering Command Pacific Commander Rear Admiral Bret Muilenburg cuts the ribbon officially opening the new Seabee cottage at Marine Corps Base Hawaii. (Photos by CBMU 303 Det Pearl Harbor)
Seabees of Construction Battalion Maintenance Unit (CBMU) 303 Detachment Pearl Harbor, Hawaii recently completed renovation of the celebrated Seabee beach cottage on Marine Corps Base Hawaii (MCBH) in Kaneohe, located on the windward side of the island of Oahu.
Esteemed guests gathered at a small, sheltered area of MCBH overlooking Kaneohe Bay to dedicate the new 1,250-square-foot, two-story cottage, with a multi-level foundation and lanai (deck).
“I am so proud to have been part of the ceremony,” said NAVFAC Pacific Commander Rear Admiral Bret Muilenburg. “While the previous Seabee cottage had been a secluded treasure over the years for our ‘Bees in Hawaii to engage in some much-deserved ‘R & R’ with their families and friends, this new cottage is absolutely stunning, and will be enjoyed by our ‘Bees for many years to come.”
The original A-framed Seabee cottage was constructed in 1972 by Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 133 Detachment Koala.
CBMU 303 Seabees began the renovation process of the new cottage in September 2011, with the excavation of over fifty cubic yards of sand. Due to the steep angle of the site and sandy location, the crew was unable to utilize any heavy equipment to aid in the excavation. Instead, they reverted to the use of spade shovels, wheelbarrows and manual labor to complete this tedious task, which also required the use of shoring, before the concrete could be placed.
Other challenges had to be overcome. The project was halted for thirty days to allow for an archaeological investigation to take place after the discovery of native Hawaiian remains on the site. An archaeologist was then present for all subsequent digging.
CBMU 303 ‘Bees persevered through budget constraints, a long commute to and from the project site, administrative and training requirements, and flight line delays. Through it all, the “Can Do” legacy of the Navy Seabees carried the wave of momentum through to the completed renovation and ribbon cutting ceremony.
Any Seabee will tell you that no matter what their designated rating is, a Seabee must be multi-faceted and able to adapt to any job they may encounter. The versatility of the ‘Bees was crucial to the daily operations of the Seabee cottage crew.
Builder Second Class Carl Watson, the crew leader of the project, oversaw all of work performed by the Construction Electricians, Utilitiesmen, Builders, Steelworkers, Engineering Aides and the occasional Construction Mechanic or Equipment Operator.
Watson said that in order to complete specific tasks, every crew member had to be willing to contribute for the overall benefit of the project. “When you are the crew leader, everyone looks to you for answers, no matter what your rate is,” he said. “You must formulate a solution, and in time, it becomes easier to resolve those issues.”
Seabees were not the only service members who played a part in the successful completion of the cottage. Builder First Class Rouel Agustin, the project supervisor, elaborated on the significance of working with other services.
“This particular project was used as an on-the-job training ground for the 84th Engineer Battalion stationed at the Schofield Army Post,” Agustin explained. “It not only gave the crew a few extra hands, but it also helped enhance the relationship between Seabees and soldiers for future missions.”
Newly Rebuilt Seabee Cottage: The new 1,250-square-foot, two-story cottage, has a large deck with sweeping views of Kaneohe Bay, Oahu, Hawaii. The cottage also includes a full kitchen and dining area, high-speed internet, cable television and daily housekeeping service. Inset: The original A-framed Seabee cottage that was constructed in 1972 by Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 133 Detachment Koala.
The Seabee cottage is now available for DoD personnel and their families to use. Visitors will take pleasure in viewing Kaneohe Bay from the immense master bedroom or large lanai overlooking the breeding ground of the endangered Hawaiian sea turtle and monk seal. The cottage includes a full kitchen and dining area, high-speed internet, cable television and daily housekeeping service. It is conveniently located on MCBH and is maintained by the Marine Corps Community Service. For additional information, please call (808) 254-2806.