NMCB 11 CCAD Marshall Islands Seabees Focus on Mission

By BU1 (SCW/EXW) Garnett Whitmire, NMCB 11

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Seabees of NMCB 11 CCAD work together placing concrete under the tutelage of Dan Tibbles (far right), contractor with the Public Works Department, at the Hamilton Beach Pavilion project, Kwajalein Atoll, Marshall Islands, April 10. Photo by BU1 Garnett Whitmire

Seabees from Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 11, Construction Civic Action Detail (CCAD) Marshall Islands, are currently deployed to Kwajalein Atoll, Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI), completing humanitarian construction projects and conduct community engagement programs through July 2015.

The 21 ‘Bees are tasked with providing Humanitarian Assistance (HA) construction, informal apprentice training in general engineering skills, Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) tutoring, and basic medical and public health assistance and awareness training. The work will strengthen the partnership between the United States and the RMI by improving local infrastructure and building grassroots relationships with the community.

“I believe that CCAD Marshall Islands is meeting all of its mission objectives by having a continuous positive presence in the Marshallese community,” said Lt. j.g. Alan Harder, NMCB 11 CCAD officer in charge. “The hard work of the enlisted leadership has been essential to mission success.”

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EO3 Michael Ceresnak, NMCB 11 CCAD, moves concrete during placement at the Hamilton Beach Pavilion project, Kwajalein Atoll, Marshall Islands, April 10. Photo by BU1 Garnett Whitmire

Tasked projects include constructing the Camp Hamilton Beach Pavilion, a 58’ x 18’ octagonal pre-engineered building located off the Kwajalein Atoll Lagoon, and renovating the Ebeye-Gugeegue Dispensary. Throughout construction, the Seabees work side-by-side with Marshallese civilians to provide informal skills training while building bonds.

CCAD Marshall Islands is also providing ongoing construction support to the U.S. Army Garrison at Kwajalein Atoll (USAG-KA). To date, NMCB 11 ‘Bees have repaired windows, painted buildings, laid CMU block, placed and removed concrete, bent and tied reinforcement steel, cut tree limbs and fabricated forms for training exercises. They also helped USAG-KA prepare for Tropical Storm Bali, filling and placing sandbags, and boarding up windows.

One of the main community engagement programs is ASVAB tutoring at the high school on Ebeye, an adjacent island. Every week, five Seabee instructors present English and Mathematics topics to high school-aged Marshallese students to improve general academic performance. A few students have expressed a desire to join the U.S. Armed Forces and travel the world.

“Our mission is valuable for the Marshallese and Seabees combined,” said Steelworker 1st Class Kenneth Barbour, ASVAB program manager.  “I hope the students of the ASVAB tutoring program will truly seek joining the military to travel the world and enjoy other cultural experiences.”

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Seabees of NMCB 11 CCAD work together with Public Works contractors at the Hamilton Beach Pavilion project, Kwajalein Atoll, Marshall Islands, April 10. Photo by BU1 Garnett Whitmire

The NMCB 11 legacy in the RMI dates back 60 years. In October 1955, members of Mobile Construction Battalion (MCB) 11 deployed from Port Hueneme, Calif., to Kwajalein.  In one year, MCB 11 ‘Bees constructed 78 Department of Defense office buildings and 175 one- and two-story concrete block homes, which remain occupied today.

Sixty years later, NMCB 11 has wholeheartedly embraced its Command motto, “Constructing the Future, Remembering the Past.”  The modern Seabees of CCAD Marshall Islands build toward the future of the Marshallese community, while remembering the historical feats of those past veterans of MCB 11.

CCADs are deployed throughout the Pacific region to provide an enduring U.S. military presence that directly benefits the local community. CCAD missions are ongoing in the RMI, Timor-Leste, the Philippines, Cambodia and the Federated States of Micronesia. The small details (15 to 25 personnel) draw on the tradition of Vietnam-era “Seabee Teams,” versatile 13-man teams that excelled at military construction and civic action projects in remote rural regions. Seabee teams continued peacetime construction throughout the Pacific region for decades after the war, sometimes in locations that now have active CCADs.

NMCB 11 is a Seabee battalion specializing in contingency construction, disaster response and humanitarian assistance.  The battalion’s homeport is in Gulfport, Miss. The Naval Construction Force (NCF) is a vital component of the U.S. Maritime Strategy.  The NCF offers deployable battalions capable of providing contingency construction, disaster preparation and recovery support, humanitarian assistance and combat operations support.

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SW3 Kyrah Alcorn, NMCB 11 CCAD, assembles the interior components of a satellite dish, Kwajalein Atoll, Marshall Islands, April 10. Photo by Lt. j.g. James Harder, office in charge, NMCB 11

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Lt. j.g. James Harder, office in charge, NMCB 11 CCAD, assists crew by priming the exterior walls of the Emon Beach Lifeguard Shack, Kwajalein Atoll, Marshall Islands, April 10.  Photo by HM3 Randy Thornton

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Seabees of NMCB 11 CCAD “Acey-Deucy” mentorship program pose for a photo during United States Army Garrison Kwajalein Atoll (USAGKA) Bowling Tournament, Kwajalein Atoll, Marshall Islands, April 11.  Photo by BU1 Garnett Whitmire

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CE3 Richard Welch, NMCB 11 CCAD, forms PVC offset for electrical wiring at the Emon Beach Lifeguard Shack project, Kwajalein Atoll, Marshall Islands, April 14. Photo by CECN Jamette Coleman

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CE3 Richard Welch, left, and CECN Jamette Coleman, NMCB 11 CCAD, discuss installation procedures for florescent lighting fixture at the Emon Beach Lifeguard Shack, Kwajalein Atoll, Marshall Islands, April 14. Photo by BU1 Garnett Whitmire


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