By MC1 Michael C. Barton, NMCB 11 Public Affairs
CEC Eric Montag and CECN Maxwell Mandock, both assigned to NMCB 11, complete a situation report during a command post exercise, Gulfport, Miss., July 28. This training is part of NMCB 11′s homeport training period, which heightens knowledge base, essential mobility skills and command readiness. Photo by MC1 Michael C. Barton
Seabees from Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 11 held their second Command Post Exercise (CPX), Gulfport, Miss., July 28 – Aug 1, to test the battalion’s readiness for deployment.
NMCBs conduct multiple exercises prior to deployment, each one evaluating combat and construction readiness and capabilities in contingency scenarios. CPXs focus on skills Seabees need to ensure the clear and concise flow of critical information to and from each company Command Post (CP), allowing the chain of command to understand and react to situations quickly and efficiently.
“For the majority, this is their first CPX,” said Engineering Aide 1st Class Keith Casey, exercise control group supervisor. “The trick is to know when to turn that switch on, finding that battle rhythm. Knowing what to do and when to do it is the key to success out here.”
The battalion’s first homeport exercise, held in June, focused on training specific watch stations within the company CPs and Combat Operations Center. This second exercise increased the challenge of combat scenarios with 24-hour operations. The exercise also focused on responses to chemical, biological and radiation (CBR) attacks, with all watch standers frequently donning gas masks and protective suits for timed drills.
“CBR drills are the most memorable and valuable training I can think of,” said Utilitiesman 3rd Class Bradley Krusiec. “You’re hot and sweaty wearing all the gear, but you’re not just learning how to save your own life. You’re learning to make sure the guy next to you is wearing it properly so he can help the next guy.”
The battalion homeport training cycle includes three CPXs of increasing difficulty from July to September, each lasting one week. Training culminates in a multi-week Field Training Exercise in October at Camp Shelby, Miss., where the battalion will be tested and certified by Naval Construction Group 2.
NMCB 11 is a Seabee battalion specializing in contingency construction, disaster response and humanitarian assistance. The battalion’s homeport is in Gulfport, Miss. The Naval Construction Force (NCF) is a vital component of the U.S. Maritime Strategy. NCF offers deployable battalions capable of providing contingency construction, disaster preparation and recovery support, humanitarian assistance and combat operations support.