By NMCB 3 Public Affairs
UTCN Jamison Rigley, NMCB 3, asks a question on the future readiness of the Seabee ratings during the kickoff of the Seabee Combat Warfare (SCW) Academy that is designed to provide all unqualified troops with the needed education to gain their qualification. Photos by BUCN Laine Pulfer
Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 3 kicked off a historic Seabee Combat Warfare (SCW) training academy, Mon., Sept. 9, for all troops stationed in Okinawa, Japan.
The new program will provide more than 300 main body Seabees with all required classroom and practical training needed for their SCW qualification in just three weeks – a process that typically took up to one year.
According to NMCB 3 SCW Coordinator Steelworker 1st Class Ephraim Fonseca, the SCW program provides Seabees with the skills and abilities needed to ensure each expeditionary Sailor is a competent war fighter, ready to operate forward. “Our job takes us to remote areas across the world,” said Fonseca. “We are ordered to build critical construction projects in combat zones, provide humanitarian assistance and disaster relief to communities devastated by natural disaster and then, if needed, defend those efforts against any kind of threat.”
To provide these capabilities and complete the above missions, NMCB 3 Seabees may have to conduct their own convoy operations, while operating myriad weapons systems to include small arms, belt-fed machine guns, and grenade or rocket launchers.
Currently, NMCB 3 Seabees are building schools, community centers, repairing roads and digging wells throughout the Pacific Region in areas such as Cambodia, the Philippines, Timor-Leste, Tonga and the Republic of Korea.
“All of the skill sets learned from the SCW program supports our tactical mission,” Said Senior Chief Builder Stephen Stran. “You can pull any section of the program and apply it to any of our current missions here in the Pacific Region, so as expeditionary war fighters who are forward deployed, it helps ensure we are ready for anything we may need to do.”
The SCW academy covers fifteen topics on Seabees missions and capabilities through book work and hands-on exercises. At the end of each topic, there is a test each Seabee must pass to gain credit for that subject. Subjects include tactical operations, construction, basic Navy history and the Seabee ethos.
The classroom material is applied in a Field Training Exercise (FTX), bringing everything into perspective. This is necessary before granted the qualification, so if a student has not had the chance to complete a FTX, they will have the chance to participate in a similar exercise while in Japan. The Jungle Warfare Training Course (JWTC) is equivalent to a FTX, counts towards SCW qualifications. JWTC is an expert lesson that teaches Seabees how to build and fight in dense jungle conditions.
“Without a SCW pin, a Seabee is not a bona fide Seabee – you need that pin in our community,” added Fonseca.
Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 3’s Engineering Aide 1st Class Willie Blanding educates 25 Seabees on the battalion’s administrative system during the first day of NMCB 3’s Seabee Combat Warfare (SCW) Academy designed to provide all unqualified troops with the needed education to gain their qualification.
Junior Seabee war fighters are taught early in their career that a SCW designator lends credibility and professionalism to their uniform.
Construction Electrician Constructionman Kayla Anderson has been working on her SCW qualification nearly a year. She has completed all required training vice a few classes and is excited to see others gain the knowledge needed to join her at the finish line.
“All that’s left is a few more classes, my final test and a board,” said Anderson. “It’s nice to know that my friends will be able to get through the process quicker, and we‘ll all be at the same professional level. It’s a big step in every Seabee’s career and something we chase after from the second we get to the battalion.”
One of the first battalions commissioned during World War II, NMCB 3’s legacy stands strong in its ability to build and fight anywhere in the world as either a full battalion or as a group of autonomous detachments, simultaneously completing critical engineering and construction missions.
For this deployment, NMCB 3 has split into 9 details to perform critical construction projects in remote island areas such as Timor-Leste, Tonga, Cambodia and the Philippines. The teams will also conduct operations in Atsugi, Yokosuka and Okinawa, Japan; Chinhae, Republic of Korea and China Lake, Calif.
The Naval Construction Force is a vital component of the U.S. Maritime Strategy. They provide deployable battalions capable of providing disaster preparation and recovery support, humanitarian assistance and combat operations support.
NMCB 3 provides combatant commanders and Navy component commanders with combat-ready warfighters capable of general engineering, construction and limited combat engineering across the full range of military operations.Read more Seabee stories here.