Story by Ensign Caleb Lennnon, Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 5
CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. – Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 5 completed participation in exercise Pacific Blitz 2019 (PacBlitz19). NMCB’s participation in the exercise, which ran from March 1 – April 9, 2019, provided the opportunity for the battalion to test their mission readiness, ability to fend off enemy attacks, and employment of small unit leadership while testing their operating capabilities in a joint expeditionary environment.
The battalion’s annual field training exercise (FTX) was also held in conjunction with PacBlitz19.
PacBlitz19 integrated sea-based and land-based Navy and Marine Corps capabilities into the Navy’s composite warfare commander construct and employed common, collaborative, and adaptable Navy and Marine Corps processes to support rapid planning and execution.
As part of their PacBlitz19 participation, NMCB-5 deployed the entire battalion simultaneously to five sites across the Southern California region and embarked an Offload Preparation Party aboard the USNS Sgt. William R. Button (T-AK 3012).
Battalion detachments at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton reconstructed more than three miles of roadway for a supply route, built an earthen berm, laid a concrete slab including required earth work at the Marine Corps Tactical Systems Support Activity (MCTSSA), and constructed two wood-frame Southeast Asia Huts with asphalt shingle roofing, screened-in windows, as well as interior, exterior and electrical finishes for use by Navy Expeditionary Medical Training Institute. Battalion members also demolished and installed a new Concrete Masonry Unit (CMU) platform as part of a project to construct a split-face CMU headquarters sign for the MCTSSA compound.
“The training gained while fortifying the relationship between the Marine Corps and the Naval Construction Force was invaluable,” said NMCB-5 Lt. j.g. Joshua Lamb, MCTSSA compound officer in charge. “Both forces gained knowledge and experience of each other’s operational capabilities and techniques ensuring fluid interoperability while supporting any future major combat operations or humanitarian assistance/disaster relief.”
In Twenty-Nine Palms, NMCB-5 detachments constructed two K-Span structures at Camp Wilson, to include foundation, concrete pads, electrical, and door and window installation. The multipurpose structures were constructed in support of Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center integrated training area and the Exercise Logistics Coordination Center.
The Seabees also worked alongside Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit 11 during an Expeditionary Rapid Airfield Damage Repair project at Vandenberg Air Force Base. Seabees involved in the project used crushed stone, flowable fill, and concrete caps to repair spalls and craters. The project demonstrated the Seabee’s ability to restore airfields to fully operational standards and command and control expeditionary forces.
At Point Mugu Naval Base, NMCB-5 Sailors supported 1st Marine Logistics Group in the establishment, maintenance, and operation of an advanced naval base, while nearby at Port Hueneme the battalion’s effort focused on the offload of 72 pieces of Civil Engineer Support Equipment for the Maritime Pre-Positioning Force (MPF). MPF is a strategic power-projection capability that combines the lift capacity, flexibility, and responsiveness of surface ships with the speed of strategic airlift.
“It was definitely a unique experience working with the Marines and other Navy units within NECC,” said NMCB-5 Lt. j.g. Don James Udofia Jr., Maritime Prepositioning Force officer in charge. “Marines work diligently, with a purpose, and all players of the Maritime Prepositioning Force operations were able to gain insight on what works effectively to complete the mission.”
NMCB-5’s intense planning, preparation, and training prior to the exercise and outstanding execution in the field led to the successful completion of PacBlitz19 as well as the final evaluation portion of the FTX. The battalion successfully delivered high quality construction and logistics support upheld the “Can-Do” reputation of the Seabees, and left the field “ready for tasking.”
“Pacific Blitz allowed Naval Engineering Forces to demonstrate interoperability between the Navy and the Marine Corps, enhancing our capabilities to conduct advanced naval basing in an expeditionary environment,” said Cmdr. Omarr Tobias, commanding officer, NMCB-5. “NMCB-5 completed all tasks, delivering safe, high-quality construction and general engineering support to ANBs, and upheld the ’Can Do’ spirit of the Seabees.”