Story by Petty Officer 2nd Class Adam Henderson
OKINAWA, Japan (Oct. 1, 2016) Cmdr. Matthew Riethmiller, commanding officer, Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 5, address Seabees during the Relief in place/ Transfer of Authority ceremony on Camp Shields Okinawa, Japan, Oct. 1. NMCB 5 is the forward deployed Western Pacific NMCB ready to support major combat operations, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, and to provide general engineering and civil support to Navy, Marine Corps and joint operational forces. Homeported out of Port Hueneme, California, NMCB 5 has 14 detachment sites deployed throughout the United States and Western Pacific area of operations. (U.S. Navy Photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Adam Henderson/161001-N-WA189-115)
Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 5 assumed charge of all Western Pacific Region Naval Construction Force missions during a Relief in Place/Transfer of Authority ceremony at Camp Shields in Okinawa, Oct. 1.
The relief in place and transfer of authority ceremony (RIP/TOA) marked the official end of NMCB 4’s deployment.
“NMCB 4 completed a very successful deployment by executing a detailed and meticulous turnover at all sites. NMCB 5 spent a year in homeport getting ready, and we are,” said Cmdr. Matthew Riethmiller, commanding officer of Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 5. “Our country, Navy, families and friends, as well as our Hosts in nearly a dozen countries across the Pacific expect us to be the very best – prepared for any conflict or disaster. It’s daunting, but the men and women of five have consistently redefined what is possible for a Seabee Battalion. We have the watch.”
Riethmiller relieved Cmdr. James Cho in officially assuming all duties and responsibilities from the previous battalion.
Before a RIP/TOA can occur, a weeklong inspection and review is conducted of all equipment, supplies, projects, facilities, and civil engineering support equipment (CESE).
“This is my first time in Okinawa and I am looking forward to not only working here but to also getting to see and experience the culture,” said Petty Officer 3rd Class Maria Correa.
When a Seabee battalion deploys, they do not travel with their equipment. Instead, all of the construction equipment and supplies that they will use are already at their deployment sites. A detailed turnover must be conducted before the oncoming battalion commences work.
“The equipment and supplies that the battalion uses is called a table of allowance (TOA). For an NMCB, the entire TOA, which is worth more than $70 million, is designed to support operations and sustainment of approximately a 600 (person) Seabee battalion, conducting forward contingency and humanitarian assistance operations anywhere in the world, said Ensign Andrea Villareal, NMCB 5’s assistant supply officer.
Construction equipment and support equipment (CESE) undergoes a more thorough inspection, in a process called the Battalion Equipment Evaluation Program (BEEP). The BEEP inspection is designed to transfer all special knowledge of CESE maintenance, operations, and techniques to the relieving battalion. “If any tools, parts, or other supplies are found to be missing during the inspection, they need to be on order or placed on order,” said Villareal. “We have to maintain the TOA at 100 percent readiness.”
The equipment will be used to complete construction tasking in locations across the Pacific.
NMCB 5 is the forward deployed Pacific NMCB ready to support major combat operations and humanitarian assistance/disaster relief operations, and to provide general engineering and civil support to Navy, Marine Corps and joint operational forces. Homeported out of Port Hueneme California, NMCB 5 has 14 detachment sites deployed throughout the United States and Pacific area of operations, including two locations in the Philippines, Timor Leste, Palawan and Cambodia.