By MC3 Drew Verbis, NMCB 3
EO3 (SCW) Aaron Wilson, NMCB 3, operates a front-end loader at a construction project on the YMCA’s Snow Mountain Ranch in Granby, Colo., where Seabees participated in building projects under the DoD’s Innovative Readiness Training (IRT) program. (U.S. Navy photos by MC3 Drew Verbis.)
Seabees from Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 3 from Port Hueneme, Calif., traveled to the YMCA’s Snow Mountain Ranch, Granby, Col., to participate in the Department of Defense’s Innovative Readiness Training (IRT) program, Aug. 8 – Sept. 25.
“We have alternating groups arriving to complete the horizontal construction of a Yurt bathhouse,” said Chief Steelworker (SCW) Samuel Ruby, NMCB 3. “This includes all of the foundation, utilities in place, parking lot and roadway. Currently we’ve placed over 10,000 tons of fill at the site.”
IRT is a federal government program that partners military units with community projects. It also provides training at the unit level to improve operational readiness.
“We’re improving skills out here that can be applied to projects we work on during deployments,” said Builder 3rd Class (SCW) Benjamin Floyd, NMCB 3. “The fact that we’re also helping the community and building relationships is a great feeling.”
BU3 (SCW) Benjamin Floyd, NMCB 3, sweeps a float on a wet concrete surface using a finishing trowel. Nearly 30 members of NMCB 3 from Port Hueneme, Calif., traveled to the YMCA’s Snow Mountain Ranch in Granby, Colo., to participate in the DoD’s Innovative Readiness Training (IRT) program.
The ranch is more than 5,000 acres with almost 150 buildings, presenting a tremendous need for construction resources. Kevin Kemp, owner’s representative for the YMCA IRT, said the YMCA of the Colorado Rockies operates on a tight budget.
“Because we’re a charity organization, a facility like this is run on a shoestring budget,” said Kemp. “Low-cost operation means that we cannot expect to complete projects on the camp without the Seabees.”
According to Kemp, there is only one paved road (which is the highest paved road in North America) and the rugged mountain location has an extreme ecosystem which can present many challenges.
“We’re facing difficulties with the weather and adjusting to the extreme altitude,” Ruby said. “The weather patterns create short construction windows. We’re experiencing a location that delivers serious storms with little warning; this is causing unscheduled work stoppage.”
Floyd added that Seabees are accustomed to handling challenges; it’s a part of their “Can Do” attitude.
“There are construction standards that we have to follow but sometimes working in difficult elements [such as 9,000-feet elevation], challenges us to be flexible problem- solvers,” Floyd said.
EO3 (SCW) Aaron Wilson, NMCB 3, operates a grader at a construction project on the YMCA’s Snow Mountain Ranch in Granby, Colo. Seabees participated in the DoD’s Innovative Readiness Training (IRT) program.