Story by MC1 Brannon Deuga, Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 1
Four Seabees demolished a Southwest Asia (SWA) Hut on board Naval Construction Battalion Center in Gulfport, Mississippi, May 15, 2018.
The Seabees assigned to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 1 demolished the hut to prepare for an upcoming class that will build a new SWA hut in order to prepare Seabees for future deployments. A SWA hut is typically a 16 feet wide by 32 feet long wooden structure that can be used as a supplemental office space, living quarters and briefing rooms in contingency environments.
“The SWA Hut was kind of in bad shape,” said Equipment Operator 3rd Class Rafaela Irvin, from Houston, Texas. “The wood was starting to warp, and it was time to bring it down to allow a new class to come in and build a new one as they prepare for an upcoming deployment.”
Irvin, the crew leader of the demolition, explained that the project was also a great learning experience for her and her crew.
“This is my first time as a crew leader, and this is a small project that kind of just gets my foot in the door for future projects,” said Irvin. “It’s been great because I have been able to learn the different processes for doing a project, such as completing requests for construction engineering support equipment, safety plans, and other processes that will ensure that the whole project will go efficiently.”
Like Irvin, the SWA Hut demolition provided an opportunity for Seabees to polish their operating skills with heavy construction equipment not used every day.
“It’s been a while since I have operated the 12K loader, so it is nice to be able to get more experience and to build my confidence to operate this piece of equipment,” said Equipment Operator Constructionman Albert Aguilera, from Miami, Florida. “This project provided me a chance to learn how the equipment plays into a project, whether it is building or demolition. I have a better understanding of how a project works, from planning to the execution.
“This is a valuable experience for my naval career so I can become a better operator,” continued Aguilera. “If I decided to make this a career, I can use the skills I’m learning here to pass onto future troops.”
NMCB 1 is a Seabee Battalion, homeported in Gulfport, Mississippi, that specializes in contingency construction, disaster response and humanitarian assistance. NMCB 1 is a part of the Naval Construction Force (NCF) and is a vital component of the U.S. Maritime strategy. The NCF offers deployable battalions capable of rapidly providing contingency construction, disaster response and humanitarian assistance and combat operations support.