Story by Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael Lopez, NMCB 3
U.S. Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 3 completed a Command Post Exercise (CPX)/Communications Exercise on board Naval Base Ventura County, Port Hueneme, March 19.
The first in a series, the exercise challenges the battalions command and control (C2), communications and timely decision making capabilities through real-world scenarios centered around Major Combat Operations and Humanitarian Aid/Disaster Relief. This particular exercise was focused around watch team proficiency, who are like the brain of the battalion in a field environment.
“A CPX is built to help the battalion develop its C2 over smaller elements of detachments or command task elements,” said Lt. Cmdr. Calvin Warren, NMCB-3’s training officer. “The end goal of CPX-1 is to get down the basics of watch standing, familiarity of immediate action drills, and watch-to-watch turnover.”
Similar to a carrier strike group’s Composite Unit Training Exercise and Joint Task Force Exercise certification process, CPX is one in a series of training events leading to the battalion’s final graded Field Training Exercise (FTX), which certifies the battalion is fit for deployment.
“This exercise sets the foundation for the rest of our training, and after that it becomes more complex where we start to run detachments and command task elements instead of simulating them,” said Warren. “We will also have unit level training readiness assessments that compound on that with complex missions like chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear; airfield damage repair; and bridge exercises going on simultaneously that the watch floor will need to command and control, which will all be integrated into our overall success. This is our first chance to see the watch floor by itself and see how they maintain these systems and operate in this environment where later they will face consistently more complex situations.”
Communications played a significant role in the exercise, where without it, the battalion would be unable to operate effectively. NMCB-3’s communications department was charged with ensuring the battalion had constant internal and external communications to properly exercise C2 with higher, adjacent, and supporting units.
“We’re really focused on building our proficiency with our systems, but also training other Seabees how to use our equipment to increase overall efficiency because every Sailor is a communicator and each element needs to be able to load frequency and troubleshoot their gear, for example,” said Lt. j.g. Derrick De Lara, NMCB-3’s communications officer. “We’re building employable and deployable Seabee teams, and each needs to be able to communicate effectively to increase our capabilities as a whole.”
In conjunction with the exercise, and to prepare for more complex future scenarios, Seabees from the battalion’s Bravo Company trained on the assembly of Naval Enterprise Tactical Command Control tent configurations. This system houses the various watch teams who orchestrate various simultaneous operations in a field environment.
NMCB-3 will use lessons learned during CPX-1 to ideate solutions for future CPXs and an FTX to once again become the Pacific Fleet’s “Ready Battalion.”
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.