NMCB 74 SITREP: On the Ground in Cameroon, Djibouti, and Niger

By HM1 Michael Smaltz, UT2 Brendan Hilfers, and EA3 Lawrence Romang, NMCB 74

Cameroon cropSW2 Jake Peters (left) and UT3 Jedediah Jones, attached to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 74 Detail Cameroon, pour concrete for placement in a “U” ditch. Operating forward, NMCB 74 strives to capitalize on engagement opportunities and build lasting relationships, ultimately paving the way for future partnerships.

NMCB 74 PITCHES IN FOR MAJOR CONCRETE PLACEMENT IN CAMEROON 

By HM1 Michael Smith, NMCB 74

It was an all-hands evolution as Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 74 Detail Cameroon conducted a major concrete placement in the construction of an operational multi-use (OMU) facility earlier this month. Since turnover with NMCB 11, the Seabees from NMCB 74 placed the concrete floor slab, built drainage ditches, raised roof trusses and constructed exterior concrete masonry unit (CMU) block walls. This last concrete placement was the OMU’s bond beam, a vital component that supports the roofing system and ties into the reinforced concrete columns, increasing the structural strength.

The crew first tried transporting concrete in a hopper affixed to a forklift attachment, but this method was quickly abandoned in favor of the tried and true “bucket” method.

“Doing it by buckets is harder work but safer,” said Steelworker 2nd Class Jake Peters, project crew leader. “This means we don’t have to worry about mechanical failure or operator errors.”

The bucket method required labor-intensive and back-breaking work for more than nine hours. In an effort to compensate for the heat in the near-equatorial climate of Cameroon’s coastal jungle, Ens. John Pinachio, officer in charge, set modified working hours. The crew began at 0400 under the yellow glow of work lights, with the concrete mixer already turning out the first product.

In all, 12 cubic yards of concrete, weighing more than 15 tons, was placed by hand.

“It took everyone out there giving 110% for this to be the success it was,” said Peters.

In the end, the evolution was a success and all the hard work paid off – just in time.

“With this [bond] beam set, we will be able to have the roof on the building before the rainy season starts,” said Chief Equipment Operator Brian Oelke, assistant officer in charge. The average daily rainfall during this season in Cameroon is more than 5 inches.  The roof will provide protection from the elements so the team can continue its work on the future Joint Operations Center which will provide joint training and operations capabilities for military forces.

NMCB 74 ADDS FINISHING TOUCHES TO CAMP LEMONNIER FACILITY 

By UT2 Brendan Hilfers, NMCB 74

With only a few items remaining, members of Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 74 Detail SOCAF, Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti (CLDJ), have been charging hard in the final stages of constructing of a facility for communication equipment.

Working long hours, they applied self-leveling compound to smooth and even out floors, placed tile throughout the building, installed baseboard trim along with nine air conditioning units, repainted the entire interior and performed electrical work. Next, the Seabees ran 3,000 feet of electrical wire for main power hookup, bringing them one step closer to completing this pre-engineered building (PEB) for its new owners in March.

“The completion of this project will greatly increase the customer’s ability to conduct necessary operations,” said Builder 1st Class Ryan Laney, project manager. “The pride and motivation of the crew was exceptional in all phases of construction, and this showed through their work ethic, technical knowledge and how we operate as Seabees.”

 NMCB 74 DET NIGER SUPPORTS FLINTLOCK 2014

By EA3 Lawrence Romang, NMCB 74

Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 74, Detachment (Det) Niger worked near Niamey, Niger, Africa in support of the multinational exercise known as Flintlock 2014. The Det played a crucial role in allowing Flintlock 2014 to start on-time by assisting in the construction of multiple office spaces, a galley space, and housing for the 300 personnel who participated in the combined exercise. 

“While it’s been a lot of hard work and hot days, we’ve accomplished a lot,” said Steelworker 3rd Class Tyler Ault. 

While working closely with the National Guard, Det Niger Seabees also installed air-conditioning units and lights in all the tents on camp, which provided cool, comfortable living conditions.

“We had to use some Seabee ingenuity to install the a-c units with the material that was available,” said Builder 3rd Class Cody Ray. “In the end, we made it work, and I’m sure the troops living in the tents appreciate the cool air.” 

Exuding the traditional “Can Do” spirit, in addition to supporting Flintlock, Seabees focused on improving the camp in other ways, including constructing cabinets, installing tent liners, and digging ditches for new water lines. In addition, construction electricians put in long days helping U.S. Air Force electricians in fixing damaged circuit breakers.

“We’ve enjoyed working alongside the Air Force. We’ve learned some new tricks and have shown them a thing or two,” said Construction Electrician 3rd Class Robert Deluca.

With its homeport in Gulfport, Miss., NMCB 74 is a 580-person Seabee battalion 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.

For more news and information on NMCB 74, visit the Command Facebook page at https://www. Facebook.com/#!/FEARLESS74.

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