NMCB 11 Seabees Advance Despite Competitive Odds

By MCC Jonathan Carmichael, NMCB 11 Public Affairs

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Seabees assigned to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 11 take the E-4, E-5, and E-6 advancement exams at club 11 Degrees North on Camp Lemonnier. 

Thirty-eight Seabees assigned to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 11 were selected for advancement based on the release of the fall petty officer advancement results Nov. 27.

Of the battalion’s 202 candidates who took the exam in late September, 26 were selected for advancement to 3rd class, 11 to 2nd class, and one to 1st class.

Advancement opportunity for the Navy’s active duty enlisted construction rates has been, on average, considerably more competitive than most rates in recent cycles. Each of seven Seabee construction rates saw decreases in opportunity from spring to fall cycles in 2013 for E4, E5, and E6 ranks.

While Navy-wide overall advancement opportunity dropped a slight 1.23 percentage points to 27.71 percent this cycle, the construction rates fell 7.85 percentage points to an overall advancement opportunity average of 17.47 percent.

“It is evident that troops used their time wisely to prepare and ensure they were ready,” said Master Chief Constructionman Robert M. Sauve, the Senior Enlisted Leader for one of NMCB-11’s currently deployed detachments in the Horn of Africa (HOA). Sauve stressed the importance of consistent high performance for Seabees who desire to advance, and he made it clear that all of the chiefs and petty officers will, “continue developing, guiding, and preparing” those who did not advance for the next cycle.

Newly selected petty officers are quick to recognize their leadership and shipmates who helped prepare them for advancement, but most are clear that their achievement was due in no small part to self-motivated studying.

Utilitiesman 3rd Class (sel.) James C. Gilbert, from Charlston, Ark., said, “I just set aside a couple of hours every day to study and do nothing else until I was sure I knew the material.”

“Definitely get into the books,” said Construction Electrician 3rd Class (Sel.) Patrick R. Thomas, from Fort Worth, Texas. “There’s a lot of good information there, and you can certainly learn a lot. I think I’ve learned more in the books than I actually have working in the field.”

The list of NMCB-11’s selectees also includes six non-construction rates such as Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class (Sel.) Andrew M. Campbell, from Natchez, Miss., and Gunner’s Mate 2nd Class (Sel.) Eric B. Stabenow, from Eauclaire, Wis., who each attributes much of his success to training and study tips he received from his shipmates.

Read more Seabee stories here.


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