Story by MC1 John Wagner, Commander Task Force 75
ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam – Seabees and Sailors assigned to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 133 and airmen assigned to the 554th Rapid Engineer Deployable Heavy Operational Repair Squadron Engineers (RED HORSE) conducted a quarry demolition at Andersen Air Force Base’s quarry April 9.
This was the first time that NMCB has conducted a blasting operation since the Mineral Products Rock Quarry on U.S. Naval Base Guam closed in 2012.
“We [NMCB’s] did blasts at the quarry for about a year,” said Chief Equipment Operator Roy Summerville, NMCB-133’s blast operation quality control manager. “Since the old quarry closed, there have been no blasting operations by any NMCB Sailors here on Guam.”
Summerville also added, “These types of operations are important because it allows Seabees deployed to Guam to keep up their proficiency levels with these types of operations.”
The demolition not only provided Seabees a chance to hone their blasting skills. It also provides recourses that can be used for future projects within the region.
“Developing the quarry blasting skillset will increase the Seabees expeditionary construction ability, enabling us to create material to conduct construction projects from schools and medical clinics, to runway repair,” said Master Chief Equipmentman Tim Taylor, 30th Naval Construction Regiment logistics department leading chief petty officer.
During the operation, Sailors and airmen worked together to plan and execute a safe effective blast at the quarry site.
“I was actually part of the drill team that made 40 holes,” Equipment Operator 2nd Class Justin Sobieralski, NMCB-133, explosive ammunition coupler. “Being able to help ammunition and explosives become one and make into blasted rock allows NMCB-133 to get our name out and also show we have a unified force on the quarry team.”
Throughout the operation, the two teams worked together to show that while they may wear different uniforms, they still have a common goal.
“With the military going to a joint operations environment, its huge to be able to inter-operate with the Seabees,” said Air Force Capt. Nicholas Spivey, 554th RED HORSE explosive demolition team officer-in-charge. “Being able to leverage each other’s forces and experiences we can learn from them and they [NMCB] can learn from us.”
Spivey added, “I feel it’s especially important in this theater with some of the challenges that we face. It’s a huge plus and value to be able to use each other’s skills to accomplish the mission.”
During the joint blast operation the two groups were able to create approximately 5,000 tons of rock that will be used for different projects around the area.
“The rock blasted today will create approximately 5,000 to 6,000 tons of base course,” said Air Force Staff Sgt. Brian Polk, 554th RED HORSE Squadron’s shot boss. “The rock will be processed into a couple of different sizes of rock for projects later this summer.”
All involved in the operation believe this was a beneficial, and successful operation that will benefit all involved.
“I feel it’s important to learn how [Seabees] do things,” said Polk. “I have been working for a month to coordinate everything, and I have learned a lot about how they operate, and what I have learned will benefit me running the quarry. It was beneficial.”
“This evolution benefits both entities,” said Summerville. “For NMCB-133 it keeps our proficiency, we are stationed in Gulfport, Mississippi, and don’t have the opportunity to do blasting operations.”
“I think it was an awesome exercise,” said Spivey. “I think it’s great to see two different uniforms working together. The team got in there, figured things out, it was a well-planned and organized evolution.”
The Sailors of NMCB-133, based out of Gulfport, Miss. and the airmen from the 554th RED HORSE Squadron will continue processing the blasted rock into smaller more manageable pieces for future projects.
NMCB-133, on a rotational deployment to Guam, provides expeditionary construction and engineering capabilities that includes maintenance and operation of expeditionary bases and facilities, tactical sustainment bridging, humanitarian assistance through construction civic action details and civic action teams and theater disaster response capabilities in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations