NMCB11 Gives Marshall Islands Locals a Means To Sustain Fresh Water

Story from Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 11

The Construction Civic Action Detail Marshall Islands (CCAD) from Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 11 began construction of a fresh water storage facility for a local village in the Marshall Islands.


Construction Electrician 2nd Class, Joshua Zapien, assigned to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 11, Construction Civic Action Detail Marshall Islands, starts a generator to provide power to the Seabees working on the island, April 25. (Photo by BUCN Jessika Corwin)


The structure consists of a 31 foot by 15 foot 6 inch concrete masonry unit (CMU) foundation, corrugated roofing, and a PVC piping system that funnels water into eight fresh water storage tanks. The project is led by Construction Electrician 1st Class Marc Artache, who is responsible for the quality and safety during construction, and Builder 1st Class Joshua Vanblarcom, who oversees the project and overall construction operations.

The project began on April 17, 2018 with the movement of project tools and materials from Kwajalein to the nearby island of Carlson on a Landing Craft Mechanized (LCM). LCM movements continued again two days later when all fourteen members of the CCAD offloaded the project’s tools, materials, and equipment. The Seabees moved over 19,000 pounds of CMU block, 10,000 pounds of wood framing, 1,300 pounds of sack concrete and various other supplies up the beach and through the island’s thick vegetation all by hand.

“This is what Seabees are built to do,” said the project’s crew leader Construction Electrician 2nd Class Joshua Zapien. The move-in on to the island demonstrates what makes the Seabees such a unique construction force.


Seabees assigned to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 11, Construction Civic Action Detail Marshall Islands, load water catchment project materials onto a Landing Craft Mechanized (LCM) provided by the United States Army, April 19. (Photo by CE2 Joshua Zapien)


With several days of beach landings complete, seven of the fourteen Seabees assigned to the CCAD will remain on Carlson for two weeks to complete construction. When the project is completed the island will have over 12,000 gallons of fresh water available – a substantial amount for a population of 50. The design of this project will not only have a permanent lasting impact on Carlson, but will also be used as a baseline for other communities throughout the Marshall Islands to use for fresh water storage.

“All of the hard work is worth it when you see the direct impact your work has on a community that doesn’t have things we take for granted,” said Builder 3rd Class Briana Garcia Cuevas, a key team member in the construction of this project.


Builder Constructionman Stephen Cheshire, assigned to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 11, Construction Civic Action Detail Marshall Islands, moves lumber from the beach to the project site, April 20. (Photo by CE2 Joshua Zapien)


NMCB 11 is a battalion specializing in contingency construction, disaster response, and humanitarian assistance. The battalion’s homeport is in Gulfport, Miss.

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Story by Lt.j.g. William Mitchell, Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 11