Story by MCCS Jeffrey Pierce, 22 NCR Public Affairs Office
BERKAK, Norway – Seventeen U.S. Navy Seabees attached to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 1, along with more than 80 Marines from the 8th Engineer Support Battalion (ESB) completed their bridging mission in Berkak, Norway, Oct. 30, 2018 during Exercise Trident Juncture 2018.
The Seabees and Marines built a medium girder bridge to test their ability to ensure mobility of forces in the area during a contingency. The scenario given to the bridge detachment and reason for the mission was the existing bridge spanning the gap was structurally unsound due to battle damage, and unsafe for military vehicles to traverse. The need for the new bridge was critical.
Scenarios such as this, conducted in the harsh weather conditions found in Norway are the reasoning behind Trident Juncture 2018. For years, the majority of operations for U.S. forces such as Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom were conducted in warm weather or desert environments. Recently, the focus began to shift where the need for training between U.S. forces and NATO allies in areas where temperatures often drop well below freezing has become a priority.
Working with the Marines from 8th ESB is nothing new for a majority of NMCB 1’s bridge detachment, however, the environment has changed. For Builder 2nd Class Mason Crane, the working relationship they have built along with active communication between the two units was the reason for their success here in Norway.
“This was my third time working with 8th ESB this year alone. I knew almost everyone in their unit and kept in contact with them prior to Trident Juncture 18 kicking off,” Crane said. “Working with the same people on similar missions allows you to get into a rhythm easier. This allowed us, despite the frigid cold temperatures, to complete our most recent evolution here in Norway faster and safer. The bridging mission in Berkak went really well and we completed it sooner than we expected.”
For several Seabees such as Equipment Operator 3rd Class Tyler Knisley, working with the Marines was a completely new experience.
“This was my first time working with 8th ESB. We did three practice runs with them in Frigaard, Norway before the practical application in Berkak, Norway,” Knisley said. “I learned quickly that they do some things a little differently than we do, however, it was really easy to integrate with them. For me, it was a great learning experience. Bridging is their main job, so they have more knowledge than we do, but they freely shared what they knew which made all of us more effective.”
Chief Construction Electrician, Matthew Deyoe, NMCB 1’s Leading Chief Petty Officer for the bridge detachment was pleased with his Seabee’s performance.
“My Seabees exceeded expectations. I was very pleased that NMCB 1 and 8th ESB completed their mission in a little over four hours, especially when you consider the constricted workspace and the cold temperatures they had to work in,” Deyoe said.
For Deyoe, communication was the key to success.
“The integration with 8th ESB for this exercise was great, however, I believe it was the communication between the two units that began long before we got to Norway that made the seamless integration possible and ultimately paved the way for a successful mission.”
For more information on Trident Juncture 18, go to: https://www.dvidshub.net/feature/TridentJuncture18