Seabees Lay the Foundation in Romania

Story by Capt. Colin Cutler

NMCB Construct and Operations and Storage Building

NMCB 1 Seabees work with soldiers from the Romanian 10th Engineer Brigade constructing an operations and storage building as a part of Resolute Castle 17 at Joint National Training Center, Cincu, Romania, on May 1, 2017. Resolute Castle 17 is an exercise strengthening the NATO alliance and enhancing its capacity for joint training and response to threats within the region.  (Photo by Capt. Colin Cutler, 926th Engineer Brigade/170501-A-GJ827-751)

“Have you named it yet? Cause you’re petting the heck out of it. Dig!” Construction Electrician 1st Class Mark Durand of Warwick, RI, directed Soldiers and Sailors of Task Force Castle as they mixed mortar for an Operations and Storage Building at Joint National Training Center in Cincu, Romania. A detachment of Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 1 is in Cincu this summer as part of Resolute Castle 17, a NATO effort to build infrastructure on the training area. They are working side by side with Romanian Soldiers of the 10th Engineer Brigade on the project.

Two weeks ago, the Seabees were breaking ground and digging out trenches for the foundation, battling rain, cold weather, wind, and snow to stay on schedule. In the worst weather, they continued work on a partially complete Operations and Storage Building elsewhere on the site. Steelworker 2nd Class Zachary McClellan of Kent, NY, said, “When we got here, it was full of openings, and it’s good to see it with doors and windows on.”

After laying the foundation for their current project, they placed concrete forms and compacted dirt to prepare for the concrete pad. The next step was to lay a vapor barrier and rebar to prevent humidity from cracking the pad. When the concrete arrived, the Seabees emplaced it and leveled out the pad. After which, they began placing concrete blocks for the walls and reinforcing it. Steelworker 3rd Class Amanda Bryla of Scott Township, PA, said, “We place rebar through the blocks to give the walls added stability, then core-fill it with additional mortar.”

Builder 1st Class Jonathan French of San Antonio, TX, described their process for walling the Operations and Storage Building: “You start at the corners, build a pyramid, then lay the first course. We go up five levels, then start again.” Walling the building was a team effort, as the Seabees were joined by Soldiers from the 702nd Engineer Company, 844th Engineer Battalion, 926th Engineer Brigade and Romanian Soldiers from 10th Engineer Brigade. They have been working with the Romanian Soldiers for the entire project, building relationships and understanding and sharing laughs in between moving blocks and pouring concrete.

Resolute Castle is the Romania-focused arm of Operation Atlantic Resolve, a NATO initiative to increase shared operational understanding between soldiers at all levels of the armed forces and re-affirm member nations’ commitment to their mutual safety and sovereign borders. Resolute Castle particularly focuses on engineer skillsets, deploying active Navy, Army Reserve, and Army National Guard engineer units to work side-by-side with the Romanian 10th Engineer Brigade on training infrastructure at the Joint National Training Center in Cincu, Romania.

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