Story by MC2 Michael Lopez, Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 3 Public Affairs
PORT HUENEME, Calif. – Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 3 transferred authority of all Indo-Pacific Region Naval Construction Force (NCF) missions to NMCB-4 during a Relief in Place/Transfer of Authority (RIP/TOA) ceremony at Camp Shields in Okinawa, Japan, April 19.
The RIP/TOA symbolizes the end of NMCB-3’s six-month deployment and the start of NMCB-4’s deployment to the Indo-Pacific Region under the operational authority of the 30th Naval Construction Regiment.
Capt. Steven Stasick, commodore of the 30th Naval Construction Regiment, presided over the ceremony.
“Seabees of NMCB-3, I want to congratulate you on an outstanding deployment,” said Stasick. “Sharing an observation between myself and my staff: you all pushed to the end with quality and safety. It’s easy when you’re close to the end to become more relaxed on safety and cut corners on quality for the sake of finishing a project while leaving the oncoming battalion to fix the mistakes, but you all did not of that and you worked hard until the end. Thank you.”
Stasick extended his welcome to NMCB-4 as the oncoming battalion.
“NMCB-4, welcome aboard,” said Stasick. “We are grateful to have you here. It’s a great time to be in the Pacific and there’s a lot going on to keep you busy and challenged. I look forward to working with you throughout this deployment.”
In delivering his remarks, Cmdr. Joseph Harder, commanding officer of NMCB-3, described the goal behind the battalion’s deployment.
“When we deployed here we had a clear purpose,” said Harder. “We were going to provide capability and readiness to the 7th Fleet and be an integral part of the team here in Okinawa, but most importantly, we left our families to make a difference. We serve our nation to make a difference, and while we were out here we wanted to give meaning and identity to that effort that pulls us away from our loved ones.”
Harder addressed the Seabees of NMCB-3, explaining that they have exceeded his rigorous expectations.
“You delivered on every single mission,” said Harder. “You served your nation with honor on foreign soils with a level of dedication, commitment, and sacrifice that has earned the respect and trust of the citizens of our great country. Through the execution of 50 projects in 12 nations, 148 warfare devices, hours of deck-plate leadership, accountability and mentorship, I’m convinced you have built combat-ready Seabees. Thank you for leading our Seabees with loyalty and integrity.”
In closing, Harder welcomed NMCB-4 and described his wishes for their way forward.
“Skipper Santiago and the Seabees of NMCB-4: you now have the watch,” said Harder. “I will tell you that we genuinely have given you our best effort to enable your successful deployment and we would also like to thank you for what you have done to prepare to make this RIP/TOA transparent, professional, and thorough. You all have an impressive head of steam, and I’m really looking forward to seeing you getting off with a fast start. My great desire is that your deployment is exceedingly successful.”
Following Harder’s remarks and the transfer of authority to Cmdr. Angel Santiago, commanding officer of NMCB-4, the ceremony continued with the command master chiefs and command master-at-arms of both battalions lowering NMCB-3’s battalion flag and raising NMCB-4’s to signify the transfer.
Santiago delivered remarks in conclusion of the ceremony and in setting the tone for the start of NMCB-4’s deployment.
“To the Seabees and families of NMCB-4: I’m extremely proud of your hard work during our arduous homeport preparing for this deployment,” said Santiago. “I am honored to serve with you and I’m thrilled to finally make it out to the Indo-Pacific theatre. As I’ve mentioned to you before, I only ask that you give me your best each and every day, and give your best on and off duty and continuously trust in each other and build upon the amazing legacy of the Seabees.”
Before the RIP/TOA occurred, an overlapping period of inspection and review was conducted of all equipment, supplies, projects, facilities, and civil engineering support equipment to ensure accountability and the success of the oncoming battalion in executing NCF missions.
During their deployment, NMCB-3 conducted humanitarian aid and disaster recovery (HA/DR) efforts, construction readiness operations (CRO), theater security cooperation, engineering projects, and multi-national exercises while maintaining constant readiness to support major combat operations throughout the duration of the deployment.
NMCB-3 Seabees provided Defense Support of Civil Authorities relief efforts to the island of Tinian, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands in response to the devastation caused by Super Typhoon Yutu. The Seabees constructed over 60 emergency temporary roofs during the HA/DR mission to make many of the local resident’s homes habitable again.
The Seabees carried out construction civic action detail missions constructing school houses and completing quality-of-life enhancing engineering projects in several geographic locations included the Philippines, Timor Leste, Palau, and the Federated States of Micronesia.
NMCB-3 completed 15 CRO projects on Navy and Marine Corps installations throughout Diego Garcia, Japan, San Clemente Island, and South Korea valued in excess of $2.9M. Seabees in Japan planned and constructed three k-span structures, completed two pre-engineered buildings, a shade structure, and constructed concrete trash enclosures for residential base housing. Projects on San Clemente Island include completion of a pre-engineered building and a BQM target drone launcher pad, as well as blasting and quarry operations, which yielded over 7,500 cubic yards of mineral products. Seabees in Diego Garcia constructed a bus stop and tension fabric structure as well as placed concrete pads to store U.S. Air Force and war reserve equipment. Seabees in South Korea placed concrete pads for storing gangways and built a dog park to enhance quality of life. In addition to tasked projects, the Seabees completed many discretionary projects to improve living conditions on the respective installations they supported.
Additionally, NMCB-3 participated in seven multinational and bilateral exercises to enhance interoperability with units from the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Army, and U.S. Marine Corps as well as military engineers from multiple host and partner nations to include Australia, Canada, China, Malaysia, Philippines, South Korea, and Thailand.
NMCB-3 is home-ported in Port Hueneme, California. Seabees are the expeditionary engineering and construction experts of the Naval service. They provide task-tailored, adaptable and combat-ready engineering and construction forces that deploy to support Navy objectives globally.
For more information about Seabees and NMCB-3, visit http://seabeemagazine.navylive.dodlive.mil or https://www.facebook.com/NMCB3/