By LS3 Malcolm DeBose, NMCB 74
EO3 Derek Barrows, NMCB 74, operates a forklift during an embarkation exercise on board Camp Mitchell, Rota, Spain, Feb. 13. Photo by MC2 Ryan Williams
Members of Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 74 took part in the first Embarkation Training Exercise (ETX) of their 2014 deployment, Rota, Spain, Feb. 13.
The purpose of the exercise was to test the battalion’s ability to deploy the Air Detachment within 48 hours of notification. The Air Det. is capable of contingency construction and repairs, and has historically been employed following natural disasters or at the onset of military operations.
During the exercise, the 89 members of the Air Det. prepared their tools, supplies and vehicles for embarkation on cargo aircraft. Seventeen vehicles were taken through 14 steps to prepare for aerial transportation. Steps included defueling, washing, weighing and balancing, and HAZMAT certification. The exercise also involved pallet building, load planning of aircraft, and staging of equipment and supplies.
Since the exercise took place on board Naval Station Rota, the battalion had the asset of U.S. Air Force load inspectors available to assess their efforts.
“The [inspectors] enlightened us on the different ways to prepare and package equipment for shipping purposes, vice how we may have [trained] in homeport,” said EO1 Michael Yondolino, embarkation leading petty officer. “Overall it was a successful evolution.”
With its homeport in Gulfport, Miss., NMCB 74 is a 580-person Seabee battalion currently deployed to multiple locations in U.S. Northern Command, U.S. European Command, U.S. Africa Command and U.S. Central Command areas of responsibility, providing general and contingency engineering support to Combatant and Component Commanders in order to enhance their operational capabilities across the full spectrum of military operations. Operating forward, NMCB 74 strives to capitalize on engagement opportunities and build lasting relationships, ultimately paving the way for future partnerships.