By CBMU 202 Public Affairs
Construction Battalion Maintenance Unit (CBMU) 202 'Bees grade a tent site during an integrated Expeditionary Medical Facilities (EMF) exercise, Camp Pendleton, Calif., May 10. During the exercise, CBMU 202 teamed with CBMU 303 and EMF Team 1 to erect and operate a field hospital at the Navy Expeditionary Training Institute. Photo by Lt. Raul Cuevas
Construction Battalion Maintenance Unit (CBMU) 202 completed an integrated exercise with Naval Construction Force (NCF) and medical support staff, Camp Pendleton, Calif., May 10, as part of the Fleet Response Training Plan.
The CBMU team from Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek/Fort Story, Va., and detachments from Jacksonville, Fla., Kings Bay, Ga., and Washington, D.C., joined forces with their sister unit CBMU 303 in San Diego, Calif., and Expeditionary Medical Facilities Team ONE out of Dallas, to erect and operate a field hospital at the Navy Expeditionary Medical Training Institute.
"The team proved to be a winning combination and provided a fantastic training opportunity for both the NCF and BUMED (Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery)," said Lt. Cmdr. Russell Bates, CBMU 202 commanding officer.
Lt. Cmdr. Bates said Seabees led the project from the beginning of the build, to the installation of power distribution systems and environmental control units. Chief Utilitiesman Kenneth Kammer, EMF detachment officer-in-charge, led his team through 11 days of training and operations which included classroom instruction, container familiarization, Table of Allowance equipment inventory and an EMF build consisting of more than 40 insulated temper tents (emergency operating rooms, triage centers, X-ray facilities and 38 beds for inpatient care).
"This was invaluable to be able to go out and set up a fully functional EMF," UTC Kammer said. "Most of the troops on the detachment have never worked with some of the equipment and they received good, hands-on training, not only for the EMF but as a Seabee installing field equipment," Kammer said.
In addition to the hospital facilities, Seabees erected a field galley, portable showers and restrooms. Bates said this was the first time in more than seven years that Seabees participated in an EMF exercise.
Led by Kammer and Chief Construction Electrician Robert Mendez, the CBMU team of 30 Seabees made quick work of the projects while gaining valuable EMF skills, helping to re-establish the NCF/EMF relationship and core capability.
"The interaction between the two communities was seamless," CEC Mendez said. "Motivation and a sense of ownership on both sides was the key recipe for mission completion."
Mendez said familiarization and on-the-job training with the EMF TOA was essential for building the team's confidence and speed. It also greatly reduced the "fog of war" troops might have if they deployed during a real-world scenario.
"Troubleshooting techniques have always been sharpened in a training environment where time is a luxury," he said.