Seabees and Sailors Train During Mission Readiness Field Exercise

By MC3 Taylor Mohr, PHIBCB 2 Public Affairs

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CE1 Daniel Kooi, a reservist assigned to PHIBCB 2’s Det. 213 Battle Creek, Mich., moves a Roll-on Roll-off Discharge Facility (RRDF) side connector using a 20k X-Boom front loader during a mission readiness training exercise, JEB Little Creek-Fort Story, Va., Nov. 8. The connectors are used to connect the RRDF platforms used in Joint Logistics Over the Shore (JLOTS) operations. Photo by MC3 Taylor Mohr

Active duty and reserve Seabees and Sailors assigned to Amphibious Construction Battalion (PHIBCB) 2 participated in a two-week field exercise at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story, Va., in November. The purpose of the exercise was to provide reserve and active personnel training to maintain mission readiness.

“The PHIB has an interesting mission, combining both amphibious operations and Seabee operations having both seagoing rates and Seabee rates working together,” said Chief Equipment Operator Joel Patterson, a reservist assigned to detachment 206, Akron, Ohio. “The reserve Seabees don’t get to see the water side of the PHIB mission and the fleet rates don’t get to see the Seabee side very often so this training gives both sides the ability to get some much-needed hands-on training.”

Both active and reserve personnel trained together for the entire two-week exercise. “At the beginning of the two weeks, I could tell a difference between active and reserve,” said Patterson. “By the end of the two weeks, I couldn’t tell a difference; the PHIB did a really good job integrating the active duty and reserve personnel.”

Personnel received realistic, hands-on training in defense unit procedures, entry control point watch standing, vehicle searches, camp construction and support, foot patrol and convoy training, roll-on roll-off discharge facility assembly, improved Navy lighterage craft familiarization and combat lifesaving.

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EO1 Michael Stratton (left), a reservist assigned to PHIBCB 2’s Det. 206 Norfolk, Va., leads a squad in a patrol during a mission readiness exercise, JEB Little Creek-Fort Story, Va., Nov. 9. Photo by MC3 Taylor Mohr

“For a lot of the junior guys this was the first time for them doing a lot of this type of training,” said Equipment Operator 1st Class Michael Stratton, a reservist from detachment 206. “We received some really good ECP and defensive unit training from the master-at-arms here, and I think it went pretty well.”

“I liked that there was a lot of hands-on training,” said Construction Mechanic 2nd Class Laezric Hammond, a reservist assigned to reserve detachment 206. “I am a hands-on type of guy – I can’t just learn things through PowerPoint.”

Reserve as well as active duty personnel are trained by active duty members of the training department in order to enhance proficiency across the range of PHIBCB 2’s capabilities

“Our main job is to get everyone up to speed on how to conduct business in the field,” said Steelworker 1st Class Josh Obrien, a training petty officer assigned to PHIBCB 2’s training department. “We try and make the scenarios and training as close to the real thing as possible…that way when these guys finally have to deploy, situations that they come across won’t come as a surprise to them.”

Seabees such as Construction Electrician 1st Class Daniel Kooi, a reservist assigned to Detachment 213 Battle Creek, Mich., make the training a priority, as well as both military and civilian responsibilities.

“It can be pretty difficult to balance my military schedule with my civilian schedule,” Kooi said. “A lot of the reservists that I know aren’t reservists for the money or the benefits…most of them – including myself – do it because they want to make a difference.”

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Active duty and reserve Seabees assigned to PHIBCB 2 conduct a mass casualty medical drill during a 2-week mission readiness exercise, JEB Little Creek-Fort Story, Va., Nov. 9. Photo by EA2 Larry Winer

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