Building Blocks for the Future

Story by Lance Cpl. Reine Whitaker, 2nd Marine Division

Construction happens all around us, and many cities are constantly building new structures and better roadways. The Marines and Seabees of 2nd Combat Engineers Battalion, (2nd CEB) 2d Marine Division (2d MARDIV) and Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 133 worked together to build a tension fabric structure during sustainment training at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, Feb. 5-21, 2020.

The training provides the Seabees with the skills to increase the interoperability between the Marine Corps and the Navy.

Seabees with Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 133, raise arch covers, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, February 14, 2020. The Seabees worked alongside 2nd Combat Engineer Battalion, 2d Marine Division, to build a tension fabric structure that provides equipment protection against the elements. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Reine Whitaker)

“It’s a great opportunity for Seabees to come on a Marine Corps base and have sustainment training,” said Captain Cameron Geertsema, the Commodore of 22 Naval Construction Regiment. “Our ability to come out here to work with Marines is a movement towards better integration.”

The tension fabric structure is a large framework that is meant to be assembled in a timely manner. It is made out of metal archway beams and an arch cover designed to keep the elements out, providing the equipment with protection while in the Administrative Storage Program (ASP).

The ASP holds equipment that is not in use during current operations where field service representatives provide maintenance around the clock. This assists the unit’s readiness by increasing the mechanic-to-equipment ratio.

“When equipment is not being readily used it will go into the ASP, and instead of our Marines working on that piece of gear, a field service representative will work on it,” said 1st Lt. Oscar Machado, the training officer for 2nd CEB, 2d MARDIV. “It will keep our Marines focused on the equipment and gear that is necessary for the training or operation at hand.”

Constructionman Ryan Lamar, with Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 133, pulls a roof cable on Camp Lejeune, North Carolina Feb. 13, 2020. The Seabees are working with 2nd Combat Engineer Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, to build a tension fabric structure that will provide equipment protection against the elements. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Tyler M. Solak)

According to Geertsema, in addition to joint interoperability, 2nd CEB benefits by saving up to $1.5 million in labor costs that would have been spent on field service representatives. Seabees are trained to build tension fabric structures in two weeks or less

“We’ll save money and time because, in the contracting world, it can take time and the costs of hiring field service representatives,” Geertsema said. “This way we’ll be cutting the costs of labor out.”

With the amount of work required to build the structures needed, the Marines and Sailors have found an efficient way to finish the job by joining together.

“I hope they learn that the key to success is being able to work side by side,” said Geertsema, “We’re bringing together the strengths of the Marine Corps and the Navy for mutual success.”

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