NMCB 133 Supports Joint NEO Exercise

By MC1 (SW) Cliff Williams, NMCB 133 Public Affairs 

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EO1 Matt Ward, NMCB 133 Detail Rota, briefs role players for Evacuation Control Center (ECC) protocols during a non-combatant evacuation operation exercise on board Naval Station Rota, Spain. 

Seabees from Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 133 Detail Rota recently participated in a non-combatant evacuation operation (NEO) exercise with Navy personnel from Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit 8 and Coastal Riverine Squadron (CRS) 2, and Marines from Fleet Anti-Terrorism Security Team (FAST) Company Europe and Africa while deployed in Rota, Spain. NMCB 133 Detail Rota operated the Evacuation Control Center (ECC) in a simulated hostile environment, assisted by CRS 2, to process 50 evacuees in under 30 minutes.

The ECC is a mobile operations center that conducts processing, screening and logistics associated with emergency evacuation of non-combatants. A NEO training exercise prepares servicemembers in the event they are called upon to assist the Department of State in evacuating U.S. citizens, Department of Defense civilians, and designated host nation and third country nationals from dangerous locations to an appropriate safe haven. Although normally considered in connection with hostile action, evacuations may also be conducted in anticipation of, or in response to, any natural or man-made disaster.

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YNSN Shayne Therrien, NMCB 133 Detail Rota, uses a portable work station to register evacuees using drivers licenses, passports or other ID cards. 

“NMCB 133 ECC Detachment established cohesive organization and developed mastery of skills required to deploy independently and conduct Non-Combatant Evacuation Operations under direction of CTF 68 [Commander, Naval Expeditionary Task Force Europe and Africa],” said Lt. j.g. Timothy Dahms, NMCB 133 Detail Rota assistant officer-in-charge. “We staffed, trained, equipped and prepared to support two geographically separated ECCs to execute NEO Control Centers, each capable of processing up to 1,600 evacuees per day for embarkation to the designated safe haven.”

NMCB 133 and CRS 2 first conducted the ECC exercise on board Camp Mitchell within the equipment maintenance shop and embarkation warehouse. Exercises are now being conducted at multiple locations aboard Naval Station Rota in order to become more adaptable in setting up the ECC anywhere they may be directed to do so.

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YN3 Jorge Sosa, NMCB 133 Detail Rota, scans bar-coded bracelets in the final stage of the Evacuation Control Center (ECC) exercise.

“Future plans for the exercise include operating off temporary power in modular general purpose tent systems,” said Dahms. “CTF 68 is also developing plans for a larger involvement of the tribes and other base units to be conducted quarterly as they increase their capabilities of command and control in an expeditionary environment.”

Detail Rota conducts this training monthly and understands it is very important to the command’s mission.

“I think this training was very important, not just for the personnel participating in the ECC, but also for the role players,” said Construction Electrician 2nd Class Aaron Hutnick. “This is my third time participating in these types of exercises…it helps us get an idea of what could happen during a real NEO and forces us to adapt and learn from our mistakes.”

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EO3 Taylor Conner, NMCB 133 Detail Rota, uses a handheld metal detector during the initial processing of personnel during the non-combatant evacuation operation exercise aboard Naval Station Rota. Detail Rota manned the Evacuation Control Center, a mobile operations center that conducts processing, screening and logistics associated with emergency evacuation of non-combatants.

Naval mobile construction battalions play a pivotal role in supporting the national security strategy by being ready and capable of providing engineering and construction support any place, any time and in any environment. Seabees build lasting relationships throughout the world by operating forward and capitalizing on engagement opportunities, ultimately paving the way for future partnerships.

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BUCN Alexandria Hornof, NMCB 133 Detail Rota,  uses a handheld metal detector during the initial processing of personnel during the non-combatant evacuation operation exercise aboard Naval Station Rota.

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