By Senior Chief Petty Officer Matthew P. Dooley, Naval Construction Group 2 Public Affairs
Petty Officer Second Class Jacob Port instructs personnel from NCG 2 and 22 NCR on the .50 caliber machine gun during EXW training held at the Crane Yard aboard Naval Construction Training Center, Gulfport, October 7. (Photo by Senior Chief Jeffrey Pierce/161007-N-VN349-0015)
GULFPORT, Miss. (NNS) -- Naval Construction Group (NCG) 2 and the 22nd Naval Construction Regiment (22 NCR) conducted hands-on expeditionary warfare (EXW) program training for Sailors pursuing their EXW qualification at the two commands, Oct. 7.
The training provided Sailors with familiarization in topics such as urban battle skills, machine gunnery, land navigation, map reading, first aid, medical evacuation (MEDEVAC) procedures, and patrol techniques. Led by instructors of the NCG 2 Military Tactics Division (N75), more than 40 personnel attended the course of instruction and received exposure to topics generally difficult to gain a full understanding of, exclusively in a classroom setting. Additionally, several other EXW-qualified personnel were on site to provide additional mentorship and personal insight regarding the topics.
According to Chief Petty Officer Jesse Vanausdoll, N75 Operations chief, hands-on training in the field helps Sailors grasp what is being taught in the classroom.
"Getting out in the field and seeing the tactics, techniques, and procedures actually demonstrated is a great way to help Sailors understand what is expected of them as leaders in an expeditionary environment," Vanausdoll said. "The Seabees have conducted expeditionary warfare since their inception in 1942. Our instructors are some of the most experienced in the business, often times with multiple, real-world deployments to contingency environments and take pride in passing on their knowledge to the students."
Navy Expeditionary Combat Command (NECC) released an updated instruction September 2015 which expanded qualification opportunities to expeditionary force units that were previously unable to qualify. Since its release, NCG 2 has partnered on several occasions with NCG 1, located in Port Hueneme, California, to share information on program implementation, training materials, and final qualification board procedures.
"It's been a great opportunity to work directly with our counterparts in Gulfport," said Chief Petty Officer Aaron Brady, NCG 1 EXW program coordinator. "Our plan is to jointly update these materials and work closely to share best practices. In the end, Sailors on both coasts and beyond will benefit from the hard work of the members of our working groups. It's all about teamwork."
In February, Sailors from NECC, NCG 1, NCG 2, 22 NCR, and 7 NCR met in Gulfport, Mississippi, to draft the first NCG/NCR Unit-Specific Personal Qualification Standard (PQS). This was necessary to finalize the command's ability to qualify members, as each expeditionary unit has their own, unique unit-specific PQS. The NCG/NCR unit-specific PQS (NAVEDTRA 43465-2) was recently approved and is now available to Sailors to begin working on their qualification. Due to the inherent mission of the NCGs and NCRs, the unit specific PQS focuses largely on command and control, operations, readiness, planning, and joint force fundamentals in support of both units' missions.
Once the unit-specific PQS was developed, the focus became standardizing as many of the EXW training materials as possible at the East and West Coast Seabee strongholds.
"We worked jointly to standardize our slideshow presentations, test banks, and study guides," explained Petty Officer First Class Shannon Baham, one of NCG 2/22 NCR EXW program coordinators. "Because we did not have a warfare program previously at our commands, we essentially had to build it from the ground up, bringing together as much program management experience as possible. We had several examples from other units that have been doing this for a while, which helped us establish a solid foundation. Our goal from the start has been to provide our Sailors with the very best training program possible."
A portal page has been developed that provides access to EXW training materials virtually anywhere in the world. The page is updated regularly and contains common core and unit-specific slideshows, a calendar of upcoming courses being taught by NCG 2/22 NCR Sailors, and contains many of the reference materials needed to complete the required PQSs. Those pursuing their EXW qualification are encouraged to contact their command's EXW coordinator to request permission to access the portal page.
"There is a wealth of information on this page, and I would encourage Sailors in our subordinate units to log in to see what's available." Baham explained. "Also, Sailors that receive orders to an NCG or NCR can get a head start on studying for their qualification."
NCG logistically supports, mans, trains, equips, assesses, and deploys Naval Construction Force (NCF) units for global employment and provides command and control of active and Reserve Atlantic NCF echelon V and VI commands totaling 4,550 service members.
22 NCR maintains a surge-ready, forward command element to provide command and control of expeditionary forces in support of component commanders, Marine Air-Ground Task Force, and joint task forces across a full range of military operations and Defense Support of Civil Authorities.