Team Work, Competitive Spirit Make Successful Command Picnic

(by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Jonathan Carmichael)

GULFPORT, Miss. (October 7, 2011) Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 11 completed a week of training with a picnic full of friendly competition and barbeque at Seabee Lake on Naval Construction Battalion Center (NCBC) Gulfport.  The command picnic followed an early morning force march and Chemical, Biological, and Radiological (CBR) drill.

“Inspiring competition keeps the whole battalion motivated and raises morale,” said Steelworker 1st Class Michelle L. Wheeler of Chattanooga, Tenn.  Wheeler was one of
many who participated in the events in which teams competed in a Humvee push, tug o’ war, litter carry race, canoe race, and volleyball.

Teams represented each company as well as Officers and Chief Petty Officers.  Competitors wore the Navy PT uniform while the remainder of the battalion went casual with civilian clothes appropriate for the sunny summer weather.

The week leading up to the picnic was known is “C.O.’s Week.”  Troops donned protective
equipment and participated in company level training on communications equipment, first aid, entry control point (ECP), defensive positions, and mission oriented protective posture (MOPP).

“This whole week has been about team building and getting used to the gear,” said Builder 1st Class Anthony W. Boldrey of Newton, Ala.  “Everything today is about team building.  One team; NMCB 11.”  Competitiveness clearly played a role as Boldrey boldly claimed before the events began, “Air Det will win this competition, guaranteed.”  Though Air Det put forth their best team effort, the competition proved superior, and Boldrey’s team would not make good on his guarantee.

Ensign Steven M. Ferrara of Seekonk, Mass. competed on the Officers’ team.  “Our strategy for the litter carry event is to put the Skipper on the litter because she is the
lightest.”  Each team had its own strategy, but team work stood out as the common theme throughout.  “This whole week is about creating one cohesive unit going into FEX,” concluded Ferrara.

In between events, people ate, played football, threw a frisbee, and mingled with one another. Not everyone participated in the events. Many simply took advantage of the time to relax and cheer on their team.  “I’m here for moral support.  I saw excellent team work out there; especially during the canoe race,” said Builder 2nd Class Richard L. Brown of
Memphis, Tenn.

The events proved to be a source of entertainment for all.  In particular, the canoe races triggered a lot of excitement, cheering, and laughter.  A few teams flipped their canoes and made futile attempts to right them while splashing about in the lake.  There were also those teams who seemed to have a hard time keeping their canoe moving in the right direction as they veered way off course or rowed in a circle.  A couple of teams seemed to have a clear advantage as they blew away their competition to the constant cheers of spectators and sometimes humorous commentating by Utilitiesman 1st Class John E. West of Montgomery, Texas.

“Not one time did I get tired of talking on the microphone,” chuckled West.  “I think it all came together for me when I was commentating on the canoe races.”  West is the President of the NMCB 11 First Class Petty Officers’ Association (FCPOA) who organized and facilitated the picnic.  “I think the picnic was a success because the troops had a good time building team unity and camaraderie,” continued West.  “It’s a privilege to be part of a command that comes together with that kind of camaraderie, and I think we’re headed in the right direction going into FEX and deployment.”

Everyone in attendance seemed to agree that the picnic was a success.  “It was an excellent way to wind down after a week of motivating small unit training,” said Builder 1st Class Nicholas R. Mileham of Oakfield, NY.  Another Seabee who participated in the events, Builder Constructionman Remie Acosta of Lawrence, Mass. thought that the picnic was a successful morale booster and welcomes similar events in the future.  Acosta also has the distinction of holding fastest run time for the battalion on the physical readiness test (PRT).  He ran the one and a half mile distance in eight minutes and 35 seconds.

“This picnic gives us a chance to have fun with the people we spend every day working with,” said Builder Constructionman Kayla M. Melton of El Cajon, Cal. and who is a part of Bravo Company.  “I think this week was awesome because we found out what we are capable of as a company and as a battalion,” she went on to say.  “It was about a lot of things like getting everyone on the same page and becoming more comfortable with our gear.”

At the end of the day, Commanding Officer Lore Aguayo addressed the battalion remarking that the picnic was a great way to end a very successful training week.  She also drew attention to BUCN Acosta’s PRT run time, congratulating him and challenging the rest of the battalion to beat his time.  CDR Aguayo thanked the FCPOA for organizing the picnic and facilitating the events of the day.

Charlie Company proved victorious when all the scores were tallied up.  Every member of the team received a medal and the team posed for photos.  Second and third place had to be determined by a tie breaker between Alpha Company and Bridge Det.  The two teams competed in 4-person timed interlocking push-ups.  Alpha edged a win to take overall second place.


About jcarmichael