By MC1 Jonathan Carmichael, NMCB 11 Public Affairs
Seabees assigned to NMCB 11 remove discarded formwork during a construction project to build a compound for Marine advisor teams in the Lashkar Gah District, Helmand Province, Afghanistan, March 29. Photo by MC1 Jonathan Carmichael
Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 11 Seabees deployed to Afghanistan are manning defenses and constructing a compound in the Lashkar Gah District, Helmand Province, Afghanistan, to support U.S. Marines who will advise Afghan Uniformed Police (AUP) and prepare them for a smooth transition upon the eventual draw-down of U.S. and allied forces.
Det. Bost, a detachment of NMCB 11 Seabees, departed the battalion's main body in March with equipment, materials and supplies to set and maintain defensive positions while constructing a sustainable compound for the Marines.
The compound will include everything from power and communications capabilities to berthing, dining facilities and office spaces, as well as Morale, Welfare and Recreation buildings.
"This is a unique mission because Seabees are providing security for the site and making force protection improvements to include placing concertina wire and Hescos," said Lt. Kimberly I. Mazur, det. officer in charge.
According to Cmdr. Lore Aguayo, commanding officer, NMCB 11, the Seabees' mission is to support the Marine Air-Ground Task Force by providing a full spectrum of general engineering and combat engineering support required during security and stability operations.
Typically, Seabee project sites are secured by Marines, thus allowing 'Bees to arrive and begin construction. For this site, however, Seabees arrived with personnel dedicated to security and other crews dedicated to construction. A small element of Marines is currently on site to facilitate a smooth transition of the compound when the Seabees depart at the end of the project. This type of interaction exemplifies the fluidity of the joint service relationship between the Marine Corps and the Navy Seabees.
"Seabees are extremely proud to be able to support the Marines in I MEF (Forward)," said Cmdr. Aguayo. "Missions such as this one will continue to strengthen the strong relationship we have built with the Marine Corps through war and peacetime."
In reference to her conversation with Marine Corps Lt. Col. Brent A. Weathers, Operation Coordination Center-Regional Senior Advisor, Aguayo said, "He had just finished a tour of the project and said he had been on the site a few weeks prior and was extremely impressed on the progress that was made during that short timeframe, with seven of the nine buildings erected."
Lt. Col. Weathers expressed to Aguayo his sincere appreciation for all the hard work the Seabees are putting into completing the project.
Builder 1st Class Brandon B. Audie is the project supervisor.
"Some of the challenges our det. faces are supply runs where adverse weather conditions and current significant events in the surrounding area dictate whether we get resupplied or not," BU1 Audie said.
The local concrete batch plant broke down which delayed final concrete placements by a week.
"Luckily, there has been plenty of work to do, so we switched focus to continue making forward progress. After all, Seabees 'Can Do,'" said Lt. Mazur.
As project crew leader, Builder 2nd Class Sean E. Roberts leads four crews in building nine pre-engineered buildings on the compound.
"It won't be easy," said BU2 Roberts. "The heat is picking up now too, but the crew continues to do outstanding work."
Roughly one week ahead of schedule, the Det. Bost Seabees of NMCB 11 expect to turn over the completed compound to Marine Advisor Teams sometime in May.