NMCB 1 Bids CO Farewell, Welcomes Aboard New Commander

By MCC Kim Martinez, NMCB 1 Public Affairs


Cmdr. Kemit Spears (center) relieves Cmdr. Chad Brooks as commanding officer of NMCB 1 during a change of command ceremony at Camp Shields, Okinawa, Japan, June 10.  Photos by MC1 Todd Macdonald

Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 1 held a change of command ceremony aboard Camp Shields, Okinawa, Japan, June 10. Cmdr. Kemit Spears relieved Cmdr. Chad Brooks as commanding officer of the battalion, which is currently deployed to Japan as part of a six-month deployment to the region.

Brooks assumed command of NMCB 1 in July 2012. Under his direction, the battalion successfully completed two dynamic deployments to the Europe, Africa and Pacific theaters. It provided construction support to Combined Task Force 68 and Combined Joint Task Force Horn of Africa, and successfully completed a homeport training period while implementing force-wide unit-level training initiatives. He concluded his tour after planning and executing a uniquely manpower constrained deployment in support of U.S. strategic objectives in the Pacific region.

During the change of command ceremony, Brooks opened his remarks by acknowledging NMCB 1’s history, people and achievements, and how the command upheld his leadership philosophy which he established at the start of his tenure with the battalion.

“I set out a simple vision for our command and charged us to place the mission first while exhibiting the finest character,” said Brooks. “By choosing to wear the cloth of our great nation, we commit our willingness to fight and die for each other if needed. I am confident that if any one of us were hurting or struggling, that many of us would be willing to respond at any hour of the day, and at any cost to ourselves, to help.”

He continued his remarks, thanking the Sailors of NMCB 1 for their hard work and incessant dedication to service.


Cmdr. Chad Brooks delivers remarks prior to Cmdr. Kemit Spears relieving him as commanding officer NMCB 1 during a change of command ceremony at  Camp Shields, Okinawa, Japan, June 10.

“To the crew of NMCB 1, President Reagan often spoke of the United States as a shining city upon a hill, a beacon of hope to the world. Thirty years later, your selfless service to our country embodies that vision today,” said Brooks. “You are the finest men and women our nation can produce. You are points of light and beacons of hope in our generation. Thank you for choosing to serve. You have exceeded every high expectation I set for us and done everything asked of you.”

Brooks went on to say that the deck plate leadership demonstrated by his chief petty officers inspired him and also said that a large measure of his unit’s success was due to the collaborative effort of some of ‘the most talented officers in the Navy,’ who make up the NMCB 1 wardroom.

“To these future senior leaders and commanding officers in our Navy, your devotion and teamwork were inspiring to me,” said Brooks. “To these and other innovators who made us successful, thank you! I will be privileged to serve with you again.”

Capt. John Adametz, Commander, Naval Construction Group (NCG) 2, was the guest speaker for the event and made the trip from Gulfport, Miss., to take part in the ceremony.

“Command is one of the most important elements in our Navy and the success of our Navy is dependent upon those in the position of command and their quality as leaders,” said Adametz. “They must be exemplary in their conduct, passionate and compassionate; they must be fair and steadfast, and they must be visionaries. Cmdr. Chad Brooks is an excellent example of a leader who took the pressures of command and succeeded brilliantly!”

Brooks closed his speech by thanking his wife and children, who were watching the change of command ceremony via video stream back in Washington, D.C. He thanked them for allowing him the ‘opportunity of a lifetime’ to serve with NMCB 1, calling it the high point of his career.


Cmdr. Chad Brooks is piped ashore after Cmdr. Kemit Spears relieves him as commanding officer of NMCB 1 during a change of command ceremony at Camp Shields, Okinawa, Japan, June 10.

Cmdr. Kemit Spears comes to NMCB 1 from the OPNAV staff in Washington, D.C. He called Brooks an inspiring leader and said that he is humbled to relieve him.

“I am honored to serve as your commanding officer today. There is no greater place to be than in a Seabee battalion, and in particular, NMCB 1,” said Spears. “You are executing professionalism, leadership, selfless hard work, logistics support, tactical readiness and construction expertise across the globe. Your daily efforts and faithfulness make those who have gone before you immensely proud. Your work at each location is making a difference. I am excited about what lies ahead of us.”

NMCB 1 provides combat-ready engineer forces in response to Combatant Commander and Naval Component Commander requirements and provides planning and operational support for Seabee employment. The continued operations in the Pacific Command help demonstrate the U.S. commitment to developing enduring relationships, and strengthening local institutions and communities throughout the region.

NMCB 1 is homeported out of Gulfport, Miss., and has 12 details deployed throughout the United States and Pacific area of operations, including Japan, Korea, Diego Garcia, Cambodia, Philippines, Timor Leste and Guam.


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