NMCB 11’s Air Det. Prepares for FTX

(by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Jonathan Carmichael)

Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 11, Air Det. conducted a Platoon Field Exercise (FEX) on Naval Construction Battalion Center (NCBC) Gulfport.

The three-day exercise took place from September 6-8, 2011.  A Platoon FEX is a field evolution designed to demonstrate small unit proficiency in unit level tactical skills.  This is part of the battalion’s preparation for the graded Field Training Exercise (FTX).

GULFPORT, Miss. (Sept. 8, 2011) Seabees assigned to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 11 simulate a casualty extraction under fire as part of a Platoon Field Exercise with Air Det on Naval Construction Battalion Center (NCBC) Gulfport. Pictured are SW3 (SCW) Andrew M. King (left) and UTCN Benjamin D. Thompson. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Jonathan Carmichael/Released)

 

“It gets people back into the routine of message traffic and comms,” said Builder 2nd Class (SCW) Brian D. Monroe.  According to Monroe, who has experienced two previous FTXs, properly communicating with the chain of command is vital, and the Platoon FEX provides necessary preparation and training for this.

Seabees gained experience in multiple things such as setting up camp including command post tents, how to install and run air-conditioned units and electric and electronic equipment. 

Some were using their tactical gear for the first time, and received instruction in proper wear and carry of it.  This included items such as Kevlar helmets, tactical vests, gas masks, and three-point slings for their weapons.

GULFPORT, Miss. (Sept. 8, 2011) Seabees assigned to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 11 participate in a Platoon Field Exercise with Air Det on Naval Construction Battalion Center (NCBC) Gulfport. Pictured are CM3 (SCW) Zachary A. Lawrence (left) and EO2 (SCW) Joshua A. Taylor. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Jonathan Carmichael/Released)

 

Wire perimeters were set, and contingency environment tactical maneuvers were conducted.  These maneuvers included search of suspected insurgents at an entry control point (ECP), chemical, biological and radiological (CBR) alert, night patrols in an improvised explosive device (IED) environment, fire exchange with insurgents and subsequent sweeps of the area by scouts, and casualty rescue under fire.

“I think the drill helped those of us who’ve never been in a contingent environment to get a taste of what things can be like,” said UTCN Marlene M. Houngbedji.  Preparing to enter her first FTX, Houngbedji appreciates the opportunity to learn and believes the Platoon FEX is a great way to prepare for FTX.

On the final evening of the exercise the Seabees were met with a CBR drill in which they reacted to the alert, “Gas! Gas! Gas!” by escalating to mission oriented protective posture (MOPP) level four.  This meant donning gas masks followed by all CBR gear. 

“This was really the first time NMCB 11 has done one of these, and Air Det. was first,” said EA1 (SCW) Dennis L. Denney, Training Petty Officer for Air Det.  “I think it was successful in that it refreshed the skills and knowledge of the more experienced personnel while introducing new skills to the junior troops.”

GULFPORT, Miss. (Sept. 8, 2011) Seabees assigned to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 11 participate in a Platoon Field Exercise with Air Det on Naval Construction Battalion Center (NCBC) Gulfport. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Jonathan Carmichael/Released)

 

GULFPORT, Miss. (Sept. 8, 2011) CM3 (SCW) Zachary A. Lawrence, a Seabee assigned to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 11 participates in a Platoon Field Exercise with Air Det on Naval Construction Battalion Center (NCBC) Gulfport. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Jonathan Carmichael/Released)

 

GULFPORT, Miss. (Sept. 8, 2011) Seabees assigned to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 11 practice a tactical search as part of a Platoon Field Exercise with NMCB 11’s Air Det on Naval Construction Battalion Center (NCBC) Gulfport. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Jonathan Carmichael/Released)

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