Story by Amber Vaglica, Center for Seabees and Facilities Engineering Public Affairs
POINT MUGU, Calif. – Forty students from Civil Engineer Corps Officers School (CECOS) Basic Class 265 concluded the course’s expeditionary phase during a five-day field training exercise (FTX) across Naval Base Ventura County Point Mugu’s coastal terrain Aug. 9, 2018.
As an integral part of the school’s training cycle, the FTX challenges future civil engineer corps (CEC) officers to operate as a team during scenario missions in the field. Students learn basic principles and skill sets, such as leadership, teamwork, and accountability, to help them be successful leading Seabees in naval construction force expeditionary units.
“The FTX exposes the students to situations that force them to dig deep and build toughness,” said Lt. Andrew Stitt, CECOS command adjutant. He explained that the goal is to have the officers take away a confidence in knowing they are capable of success and perseverance while also understanding that there is always more to learn.
Students were placed into three squads with an officer, chief, and Marine assigned as advisers. Squads were given mission taskers on security patrols, command post exercises, and engineering reconnaissance. After working through these exercises, the squads presented a final brief to the commander of the notional combat logistics battalion.
“FTX was an incredible opportunity to get a small taste of what deployment might be like,” said Ensign Conor Bryant. “We’ve all been humbled in our appreciation for the hard work the enlisted Seabees put in day-in and day-out.”
Ten reserve students joined the class for the expeditionary operations and FTX phases of the course. Bryant said he enjoyed working with his reserve counterparts and felt fortunate to establish relationships that will last a lifetime.
CECOS Commanding Officer Capt. Glenn Hubbard, who will be relinquishing command and retiring later this month, visited the FTX site to acknowledge the support staff and speak with the class.
“It was kind of bittersweet, visiting the FTX site with the last class during my tour here,” said Hubbard. “I’m excited for their future, and I try to remind them that it will go by in a ‘blink of an eye’ and to make every moment count.”
CECOS students receive classroom and laboratory instruction, before and after the FTX, covering construction methods, contingency planning and operations, engineering reconnaissance, and land navigation.
CECOS provides Seabees, civil engineer corps officers, facility engineers and environmental professionals with the necessary skills, knowledge, and education to enhance lifelong learning and to provide quality support to the fleet.