NMCB 11 Takes to the Field

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Jonathan Carmichael
130512-N-UH337-049 CAMP SHELBY, Miss. (May 12, 2013) Builder 3rd Class Hammos D. Pugh, right, from Gulfport, Miss., and Builder 3rd Class Philip J. Melendez, from Tuscon, Ariz., both assigned to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 11, construct a four-hole-burnout as part of a Field Exercise (FEX) in which the battalion is evaluated in various areas of readiness prior to a deployment cycle.  NMCB 11 is a Seabee battalion specializing in contingency construction, disaster response, and humanitarian assistance.  (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Jonathan Carmichael / Released)

130512-N-UH337-049 CAMP SHELBY, Miss. (May 12, 2013) Builder 3rd Class Hammos D. Pugh, right, from Gulfport, Miss., and Builder 3rd Class Philip J. Melendez, from Tuscon, Ariz., both assigned to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 11, construct a four-hole-burnout as part of a Field Exercise (FEX) in which the battalion is evaluated in various areas of readiness prior to a deployment cycle. NMCB 11 is a Seabee battalion specializing in contingency construction, disaster response, and humanitarian assistance. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Jonathan Carmichael / Released)

CAMP SHELBY, Miss. — Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 11 deployed to Camp Shelby last week to begin its evaluated field exercise (FEX). 

FEX consists of scenario based training and assessment to certify the battalion as the “ready battalion.”  Seabees will demonstrate knowledge and skills by satisfactorily completing predefined tasks, and appropriately reacting to drills facilitated by Naval Construction Group (NCG) 2.

The battalion must build up their self-contained operations at Camp Shelby with everything from command posts and a combat operations center to a galley, and shower facilities.  Operations run 24 hours per day including fighting positions and watch-stations.

“We are performing very well, said Cmdr. Lore Aguayo, Commanding Officer of NMCB-11.  Our evaluators are providing a lot of great constructive criticism and input on how we can be better, and every single day I see us making those improvements.  Even with the rain we’ve had over the last couple of days our Seabees have maintained high readiness and a high level of motivation.  I’m very proud of what they’re doing,”

One unique aspect of this FEX is the multi-layered command and control that Aguayo is exercising.  This three tiered approach adds an additional layer of comlexity to command and control and to communications up and down the chain, and it better resembles the way battalions operate when deployed to various locations throughout the world, according to Aguayo. 

Because battalion personnel are comprised of various levels of experience, newer Seabees will rely on the more experienced for help.  One of a number of Seabees who will be experiencing their first FEX is Builder Constructionman Amira A. Ramelize.  “Being at the ECP (Entry Control Point) and making decisions has been the hardest part so far, but it’s fun,” said the Brooklyn, N.Y. native.

The length of FEX depends on how well the battalion performs.  Any evolutions that produce unsatisfactory results must be repeated.  Once NCG-2 is confident that NMCB-11 has demonstrated the required proficiency in all areas of evaluation the exercise will end, and NMCB-11 can return to Gulfport. 

NMCB-11 is a Seabee battalion specializing in contingency construction, disaster response, and humanitarian assistance.

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