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Civil Engineer Corps Students Train in Field Exercise

Oct. 5, 2021 | By Kiana Chun Naval Education and Training Command
Forty-one students from Civil Engineer Corps Officers School (CECOS) Basic Class 271 concluded the pipeline’s expeditionary phase during a five-day field training exercise (FTX) across Naval Base Ventura County Point Mugu's coastal terrain Sep. 23.

FTX challenges future civil engineer corps (CEC) officers to operate as a team during scenario missions in the field where students utilize the lessons and skills taught in the classroom and is an integral part of the pipeline moving students from their accession source to units throughout the Navy.

“FTX prepares junior officers to understand the basics of field operations within Seabee battalions including engineering and tactical aspects, training for defense of operations, and gives students a perspective of what their future team would be experiencing in the field,” said CECOS Command Adjutant Lt. Uziel Ladaw.

Capt. Peter Maculan was a CECOS student in 1994 and is now the commanding officer of CECOS. “FTX is critical foundation training that lays the ground work for more advanced training when they join an operational unit,” said Maculan. Recalling his time as a student, Maculan said, “There is now more of a focus on the engineering skillset.”

Students were placed into three squads with an officer, chief petty officer, and Marine assigned as advisers. Marine advisers consisted of six reservists with infantry background.

“Instructors guide and share their knowledge of weapons handling, writing orders and teaching CEC students the basics of field operations,” said Gunnery Sgt. Nicholas Cox, who is from Navy Expeditionary Combat Command.

Squads were given mission tasking for security patrols, command post exercises, and engineering reconnaissance. The squads presented a final brief to the commander of the notional combat logistics battalion after working through these exercises.

One of the mission trainings performed by the students was to reconnoiter a potential helicopter landing zone where the students planned, developed a patrol order, conducted reconnaissance, and maintained security. The patrols provided unique challenges combining squad tactics, operational procedures, radio communications, and engineering problem solving. The final debrief provided an opportunity for organization and verbal communication and leadership.

Seven reserve students, including Ensign Greg Szlejter, from Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 27, joined the basic class for the expeditionary operations and FTX phases of the course.

“I was consistently learning something new,” said Szletjer, who was participating in a field exercise for the first time.

Three members of Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 4 received coin awards from Maculan for the support they provided to CECOS during FTX. Utilitiesman Constructionman Dennis Horl, Utilitiesman 3rd Class Benjamin McCwright, and Construction Electrician 2nd Class Love Deomania were recognized for their expert assistance in providing logistical and communications support services during the exercise.

CECOS students receive classroom and laboratory instruction, before and after the FTX, covering construction methods, contingency planning and operations, engineering reconnaissance, and land navigation. The total length of their training in Port Hueneme is 14 weeks and is typically followed by expeditionary combat skills training in Gulfport, Miss.

CECOS provides Seabees, civil engineer corps officers, facility engineers and environmental professionals with the necessary skills, knowledge, and education to enhance lifelong learning and to provide quality support to the fleet.

For more on CECOS, visit