By MCC Kim Martinez, NMCB 1 Public Affairs
SW1 Jesse Guardado, from Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 1, welds material during a recent command post exercise. NMCB 1 is homeported in Gulfport, Miss. It is one of three active-duty battalions on the Gulf Coast. (U.S. Navy photo by Chief Mass Communication Specialist Kim Martinez)
“We Build, We Fight” has been the motto of the Navy’s deployable engineering force since World War II. Seabees throughout the Naval Construction Force (NCF) are continuously tested on how well their skillsets exemplify this adage.
In keeping with NCF’s standards, Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 1 is being evaluated in a series of training evolutions, including its final command post exercise (CPX), which kicked off Jan. 26 on board Naval Construction Battalion Center (NCBC) Gulfport.
“This exercise demonstrates our ability to effectively operate a widely dispersed battalion in a tactical or contingency environment,” said Cmdr. Kemit Spears, NMCB 1 commanding officer. “It also allows us to conduct several smaller certification events such as communications, embarkation and chemical/biological/radiological (CBR) skill sets prior to deploying.”
CPX tests the battalion’s command and control of communications, construction operations, embarkation process and other fundamental skills necessary execute a successful mission in a diverse area of operations.
Seabees from Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 1 participate in Command Post Exercise (CPX) 3 in preparation for their upcoming field training exercise in February. (U.S. Navy photo by Chief Mass Communication Specialist Kim Martinez)
“This is really our last dress rehearsal before we head into the field and work toward our ‘ready to deploy’ certification,” said Spears. “We have the opportunity to fine tune our command and control capabilities from the battalion to the small unit level. I’m pleased with the motivation and professionalism that our Seabees are displaying during this exercise.”
During the CPX, NMCB 1 set up company and detail command posts throughout NCBC Gulfport and Woolmarket and is working through multiple scenarios designed to test its efficiency and response. Additionally, the Sailors will have to show their ability to operate in an environment undergoing CBR, a potential real-life threat in some of the theaters where the battalion may deploy.
“The battalion is graded on how quickly we can don our MOPP gear,” said Chief Utilitiesman Todd Maxwell, NMCB 1 CBR team chief petty officer-in-charge. “We have nine seconds to put on our masks and eight minutes to get into our suits. Our board standers are evaluated on how well they plot chemical agent information on the boards, if they correctly identify the agent and how well the survey team does among other things associated with the decontamination process,” Maxwell said. “There are 120 of us assigned to the CBR organization and we have been training for our final evaluation for about two months.”
The scenarios during CPX are created to give the battalion insight into what to expect during FTX and deployment. The Seabees will also interact with the local populace of their notional host country, engage enemy aggressors and are required to maintain fluid communication internally and externally.
“Being a part of CPX training is what builds teamwork,” said Senior Chief Information Systems Technician Sunny Williamson, NMCB 1 Communications Department leading chief petty officer. “We are all focused on being best trained for worldwide deployment. This exercise is where our COMMS support team takes its training and brings it all together in a high tempo, operational atmosphere. The training here at NMCB 1 is very realistic and as support staff and Seabees alike, we must push the limits of training to be as realistic as possible,” Williamson said.
The CPX exercise is scheduled to wrap up within a week, giving the battalion time to adjust from its experiences in time for the largest and final graded evolution.
NMCB 1 is homeported in Gulfport, Miss. and is one of three active-duty battalions operating on the Gulf Coast. Seabees complete civic action projects and conduct humanitarian operations, worldwide.
BU2 Brandon Wilkie, from Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 1, works in the welding shop during a recent command post exercise. (U.S. Navy photo by Chief Mass Communication Specialist Kim Martinez)