NMCB 11 advances to graded evaluation period of FEX

(by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Jonathan Carmichael)

CAMP SHELBY, Miss. (October 31, 2011) Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 11 began the second phase of its Field Exercise (FEX) preceded by a day of unit level training and a much anticipated dinner that was hot off the grill.

The first week of FEX was the field training exercise (FTX) portion in which the 20th Seabee Readiness Group (SRG), conducted scenarios and followed them up with feedback to prepare the battalion for the second phase of FEX which is called the Final Evaluation Problem (FEP).

During FEP, the battalion will be evaluated on its performance in several areas.  The goal is to ensure that the battalion is certified to be the ready-battalion, and prepare its Seabees for their next deployment.  Once this certification is achieved, the battalion can return to Gulfport.

At the end of FTX, the battalion moved to a new forward operating base (FOB).  This required logistical coordinating and planning as all personnel, equipment, and supplies had to be taken down, relocated, and rebuilt.

The FEX schedule included a day in between FTX and FEP to conduct unit level training and give the Seabees an opportunity to learn and make corrections based on the feedback that NMCB 11’s Commanding Officer, CDR Lore Aguayo, received from 20-SRG.  CDR Aguayo also allowed the troops to relax some of their tactical gear for the day.  The relaxing of the gear was a well received privilege for the Seabees because the tactical gear they are required to wear throughout FEX is thought to be uncomfortable by most due to its weight and bulk.  

To further increase morale going into the final phase of FEX, the battalion was treated to a freshly grilled dinner of burgers, hot dogs, chicken, and baked beans.  Many stood in line for more than two hours for the hot meal which was a welcomed break from the Meals Ready to Eat (MRE) they have been living off of since FEX began more than a week ago.

FEP began the moment the calendar changed from October 30th to the 31st, and the battalion was ready for anything.  Fighting positions were properly concealed and manned.  Watch rotations were in full swing, and all necessary tactical gear was donned.  The attacks began in the early morning with the battalion taking indirect fire (IDF) requiring everyone in the camp to seek immediate cover.

The Seabees expect more, and increasing attacks as the FEP continues.  All personnel are dedicated to a successful mission, and expectations are high among the ranks.  Most have expressed a desire to return to loved ones or simply to the comfort of their own homes as a major motivating factor.

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