Story by MC1 Rosalie Chang, Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 4 Public Affairs
U.S. Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 4 successfully completed a Field Training Exercise (FTX), a critical portion of the battalion’s homeport training cycle, in Fort Hunter Liggett, Calif., May 25.
“This was the first opportunity the battalion had to train as an entire unit, to complement each other and prove to be fully mission capable of wartime contingency construction missions,” said Operations Officer, Lt. Cdmr. Joseph Charles. “With the companies’ distributed operations throughout the exercise, the Seabees did an outstanding job coming together and supporting one another to get the mission done efficiently and effectively.”
NMCB 4’s mission was to provide command, control and communications; general engineering; engineering reconnaissance; and security to facilitate mobility and sustainment throughout the area of operation.
The battalion incorporated new technology, operations and enhanced interoperability within the Naval Expeditionary Combat Command (NECC) by integrating Sailors from Coastal Riverine Group (CRG) 1 and Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit (EODMU) 3.
“Integrating the other units was very beneficial to our Airfield Damage Repair (ADR) mission,” said Builder 1st Class Brian Whittsit. “CRG 1 flew the RQ-20 Pointer Upgraded Mission Ability-All Environment (PUMA AE) Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) to provide intelligence on the airfield after the simulated attack. This gave EODMU 3 and our damage assessment team oversight to prepare for the unexploded ordnance sweep and the number of craters to be repaired.”
The 48-inch concrete saw was one of the technology initiatives tested during the ADR exercise. Other initiatives used during FTX include the high-frequency wideband radios and Department of the Navy’s first time field testing of Mobile User Objective System (MUOS) satellite radios; both technologies were proven capable of increasing the reliability of a unit’s communications in distributed locations.
“We also focused on technology like the Ground Renewable Expeditionary Energy Network System (GREENS) solar power, which was capable of running a command post in a remote location that doesn’t have a power grid to support it,” said Charles. “The Advanced Medium Mobile Power Source (AMMPS) was another initiative tested to increase our unit’s energy resiliency, generating reliable power and using a micro-grid resulted in 30 percent less fuel than traditional equipment. These technologies potentially save lives by reducing logistical convoy operations in a contingency environment.”
The command completed two “jumps” where the entire battalion and equipment moved from an established base to a non-secure area. The Seabees provided their own security while moving to and setting up the new Forward Operating Base (FOB).
“We integrated every Seabee into convoy operations to maximize our mobility and to prove our ability to do more distributed operations that are all self-sufficient and capable of moving themselves around the battle field,” said Charles. “It was challenging to plan and prepare for this new concept of operation but the Seabees challenged themselves and did very well at it. This FTX was unlike any other FTX we have done in the past.”
An Air Detachment (Air Det.) of 89 Seabees operated at independent locations from the main battalion, providing their own security perimeter and executing multiple construction projects.
Operating nearly three weeks across Fort Hunter Liggett’s rugged terrain, FTX tested the battalion’s ability to enter hostile locations, build various construction projects and defend against enemy attacks. The Seabees engaged mock attackers using the M4 and M16 rifles, the M240B and M2 .50-caliber machine guns and the Mk19 grenade launcher; performed self-aid, buddy-aid and medical evacuation procedures during mass casualty drills; and completed the necessary functions following a chemical, biological and radiological (CBR) attack including donning Mission Oriented Protective Posture (MOPP) gear, CBR detection tests and operational decontamination.
NMCB 4 demonstrated their abilities to more than 100 evaluators from Naval Construction Group (NCG) 1 and Naval Construction Training Center (NCTC). Not only did the successful completion of FTX prove NMCB 4 has achieved peak combat effectiveness, NMCB 4 provided critical data points on technological advancements that will ultimately improve expeditionary units’ command, control, communications, operational efficiency, and logistical dependency.
NMCB 4 provides general engineering, disaster relief and humanitarian assistance, and civil support to Navy, Marine Corps and Joint operational forces through planned deployments and contingency response.
For more news from Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 4, visit http://www.public.navy.mil/seabee/nmcb4/Pages/default.aspx or follow NMCB 4 on Facebook at www.facebook.com/NMCB4