NMCB 5 Conducts Airfield Damage Repair

By UT3 Stephen Sisler, Naval Construction Group 1 Public Affairs

NMCB 5's Camp Anderson conducts a ADR during FTX

A Seabee assigned to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 5 cuts a damaged section of concrete from a simulated attack drill during NMCB 5’s Field Training Exercise (FTX) at Fort Hunter Liggett, California, April 20, 2016. The FTX prepared and tested the battalion’s ability to enter hostile locations, build assigned construction projects and defend against enemy attacks using realistic scenarios, while being evaluated by Naval Construction Group 1. (U.S. Navy photo by Utilitiesman 3rd Class Stephen Sisler/160420-N-HD670-294)

Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 5 completed the Airfield Damage Repair (ADR) portion of their Field Training Exercise (FTX), April 21.

The event tested the battalion’s ability to repair runways and other airfield facilities following an attack by an enemy force. Previously, the ADR was a 12-hour standalone project during the FTX, but this ADR exercise was extended to three days and involved a majority of the battalion.

Seabees combed an expeditionary runway to assess the damage from a simulated rocket attack, and working together with Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit (EODMU) 3, identified and allowed EOD to properly dispose of “unexploded” ordnance.

“Working with EOD brought a lot more realism to the training and just added authenticity to the situation,” said Equipment Operator 3rd Class Patrick Heng.

After assessing the damage and the removal of all ordnance, NMCB 5’s ADR team kicked into action working within a timeline of eight hours to fill and compact various craters created by the attack, install bolted fiberglass panels, and place concrete patches.

“This is probably the first battalion that has done as much training in homeport prior to coming out here, so (NMCB 5) was very well prepared,” said Builder 1st Class Richard Turgeon, lead ADR instructor with NCG 1’s training department. “Each day they knocked about an hour off their time. Even the last day, when we threw a night scenario with more damage, they still repaired it in just over five hours.”

NMCB 5's Camp Anderson conducts a ADR during FTX

Seabees assigned to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 5 use a roller to compact dirt and a bulldozer to fill a crater after a simulated attack during an Airfield Damage Repair (ADR) drill during NMCB 5’s Field Training Exercise (FTX). The FTX prepares and tests the battalion’s ability to enter hostile locations, build assigned construction projects and defend against enemy attacks using realistic scenarios while being evaluated by NCG 1. (U.S. Navy photo by Utilitiesman 3rd Class Stephen Sisler/160421-N-HD670-487)

During the repair exercise, the ADR team also built a concrete Vertical Take-off and Landing (VTOL) pad and a 10,000 gallon fuel storage bladder for refueling aircraft.

“ADR is a valuable tool in our arsenal that will prepare us to react to ongoing events in the world, and deal with challenges that the enemy may throw at us,” said Heng.

The exercise marked a renewed focus on ADR for the Seabees, although it is not new. The Seabees have constructed and repaired airfields throughout their history, beginning in World War II. Extending ADR into the FTX ensures the skills needed to repair damaged airfields remains a core competency of deployed Seabee units.

“The ADR mission is a battalion level responsibility, and NMCB 5 was successful in bringing the entire battalion’s resources to bear to accomplish that mission,” said Lt. Eric Truemper, NCG 1’s training exercise officer.

The FTX prepares and tests the battalion’s ability to enter hostile locations, build assigned construction projects and defend against enemy attacks using realistic scenarios while being evaluated by NCG 1. The exercise is the last qualification prior to the battalion’s certification to deploy.