By MC1 Michael C. Barton, NMCB 11 Public Affairs
Seabees assigned to NMCB 11 load all required gear, Gulfport, Miss., Oct. 12, before departing for the unit’s Field Training Exercise (FTX) on Camp Shelby, Hattiesburg, Miss. The scheduled two-week evolution will test the battalion’s capability to operate independently in a tactical field environment. Upon successful completion of the FTX and Final Evaluation Problem (FEP), NMCB 11 will become deployment ready. Photos by MC1 Michael C. Barton
Seabees from Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 11 depart Naval Construction Battalion Center (NCBC) Gulfport, Miss., Oct. 12, to the unit’s Field Training Exercise (FTX), Camp Shelby, Hattiesburg, Miss.
The scheduled two-week evolution will test the battalion’s capability to operate independently in a tactical field environment. Upon successful completion of the FTX and Final Evaluation Problem (FEP), NMCB 11 will be deployment ready.
FTX is an opportunity for the battalion to hone its skills with assistance and guidance from Naval Construction Group (NCG) 2. Throughout the exercise, NMCB 11 will construct several Forward Operating Bases (FOBs) and conduct defensive operations and tactical movements simulating deployment to a down range environment. Volunteers fromother Seabee unitswill act as enemy “aggressors,” attacking NMCB 11 lines and executing various scenarios.
“I’m usually in the pits [fighting positions], so I’m right in the front of the action,” said Utilitiesman 3rd Class Kristen Gilliland, NMCB 11. “When an attack comes, you can be having a terrible day and it just turns it around. You’re pumped up and like, ‘Yeah, let’s go!’”
EO1 Kevin Rapier, NMCB 11, prepares to secure constantan wire with ratchet straps during the battalion’s Field Training Exercise (FTX), Camp Shelby, Miss. Upon successful completion of the FTX and Final Evaluation Problem (FEP), NMCB 11 will become deployment ready.
During FTX, the battalion will assess its operational and administrative strong points, as well as areas of improvement. Since battalion personnel are comprised of various levels of experience, newer Seabees will rely on the more experienced for help.
“This will be my seventh FTX, so preparing has become second nature for me and my family,” said Construction Electrician 1st Class Nathaniel Steward, NMCB 11. “Now my priorities are to help the troops build on their skills they’ve learned during all the exercises and CO’s week [a week of focused training to refine skills learned during homeport], so they can be successful during FTX.”
In preparation for FTX, NMCB 11 conducted multiple graded evolutions on Chemical, Biological and Radiological (CBR) defense operations. The battalion successfully passed all portions of the CBR evaluation, which included individual CBR decontamination, operational CBR decontamination, and command and control processor skills. This early qualification eliminates CBR operations from the NMCB 11 FTX, a change from previous years.
“For me it’s two sided…yeah it’s a great morale boost that we don’t have to take our CBR gear with us,” said Intelligence Specialist 2nd Class Layne Duras, NMCB 11. “But during FTX, when we finished using our CBR gear was usually the half-way point and that’s when we got our second wind. Life improved that much more knowing we don’t have to carry that around anymore.”
CM2 Jennalee Nelson and Lt. j.g James Harder, both assigned to NMCB 11, construct a terrain Model of the Area of Operation during the battalion’s Field Training Exercise (FTX), Camp Shelby, Miss.
The exercise takes place in various phases, including Receipt, Staging, Onward-Movement and Integration (RSO&I); Operations (Field Training Exercise), Sustainment (Final Evaluation Problem) and Retrograde phases.
The Final Evaluation Problem (FEP) portion of the exercise is a graded evolution. It will be immediately followed by an Integrated Exercise (IEX) testing the ability of battalion leadership to conduct complex operations in coordination with other units. Once both evolutions are successfully executed, NMCB 11 will return to Gulfport as the Ready Battalion.