Story by MCC Jacquelyn Childs, FIRST Naval Construction Regiment
Seabees assigned to the Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 22 gathered at Naval Air Station Fort Worth Joint Reserve Base, Texas, Dec. 12-15 to conduct a training evolution referred to as an “alternate training site” (ATS) with the intent to increase operational readiness and deploy-ability.
ATS refers to the opportunity to train at a location outside of Port Hueneme, California, where the reserve battalion’s headquarters are located, and which is the primary training location for all west coast seabees. Conducting the training in Texas allowed for drastically less travel time and money spent, especially considering the largest detachment with the most personnel in NMCB 22 is local to the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
Over the course of four days, the battalion conducted a series of classroom-based teaching to include maintenance personnel qualifications, general military training (GMT) and CPR certification, as well as hands-on training for some things to include a backhoe course and a bus-driver qualification course. The primary focus of the weekend however was a round-robin style training for the Seabee Combat Warfare (SCW) personnel qualification standards (PQS).
“We had 61 personnel that went through that got 50 percent of their SCWs books signed off from the very beginning,” said Senior Chief Construction Mechanic Ryan Wilmarth, NMCB 22 training leading chief petty officer. “By doing that round-robin training, we were able to get 50 percent of the books signed off while they received really good quality training. If they move forward from there to the next four-day weekend where they can get the next 50 percent signed off, than within a year all they’re waiting on is testing and boarding.”
The “round-robin’ training conducted was held on a rotating basis with several different groups circling throughout the classrooms or their scheduled time-blocks to maximize the amount of personnel getting to participate in each designated course and eliminating any wasted dead time. All of the E-6 and below personnel were placed in different groups to rotate through the classrooms and with a mix of experience in each group, there was a wealth of opportunities for both training and mentoring.
“We got some good training and with those of us that are SCW qualified being able to interject with those who aren’t qualified, it was helpful for them,” said Construction Mechanic 2nd Class Jacob Vallilee, assigned to NMCB 22 Detachment Delta, 1st Platoon, in Fort Worth. “When we’re normally here it’s the same four or five people conducting training but having the different instructors who have so much experience was great.”
Overall, leaders and everyone in attendance agreed it was a successful, productive, and morale-building weekend where the battalion was able to accomplish a lot of requirements including administrative items such as evaluations and awards, a physical readiness test and operational planning for future opportunities and requirements.
NMCB 22 is one of three reserve battalions assigned to the 1st Naval Construction Regiment and it is routinely deployable, always standing ready to provide construction support for the Navy and other U.S. organizations and ally forces.