NMCB 11 CCAD Marshall Islands Seabees Focus on Mission

By Builder 1st Class (SCW/EXW) Garnett Whitmire, NMCB 11, CCAD Marshall Islands

KWAJALEIN ATOLL, REPUBLIC OF THE MARSHALL ISLANDS – 21 Seabees of Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 11, Construction Civic Action Detail (CCAD) Marshall Islands, are deployed to Kwajalein Atoll to complete humanitarian construction projects and conduct community engagement programs from January to July 2015.

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CCAD Marshall Islands is tasked with providing Humanitarian Assistance (HA) construction, informal apprentice training in general engineering skills, Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) tutoring, and basic medical and public health assistance and awareness training.  The work will strengthen the partnership between the United States and the Republic of the Marshall Islands by improving local infrastructure and building grassroots relationships with the community.

“I believe that CCAD Marshall Islands is meeting all of its mission objectives by having a continuous positive presence in the Marshallese community.  The hard work of the enlisted leadership has been essential to mission success,” stated Lieutenant Junior Grade Alan Harder, CCAD Officer in Charge.

Tasked construction projects include constructing the Camp Hamilton Beach Pavilion, a 58’ x 18’ Octagonal pre-engineered building located off the Kwajalein Atoll Lagoon, and renovating the Ebeye-Gugeegue Dispensary. Throughout construction, the Seabees work side-by-side with Marshallese civilians to provide informal skills training and build bonds.

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CCAD Marshall Islands is also providing ongoing construction support to the U.S. Army Garrison at Kwajalein Atoll (USAG-KA).  To date, they have repaired windows, painted buildings, laid CMU block, placed and removed concrete, bent and tied reinforcement steel, cut tree limbs, and fabricated forms for training exercises.  They also helped USAG-KA prepare for Tropical Storm Bali, filling and placing sandbags and boarding up windows.

One of the main community engagement programs is ASVAB tutoring at the high school on Ebeye, an adjacent island.  Every week, five Seabee instructors present English and Mathematic topics to high school-aged Marshallese students to improve general academic performance.  A few students have expressed a desire to join the U.S. Armed Forces and to travel the world.

“Our mission is valuable for the Marshallese and Seabees combined.  I hope the students of the ASVAB tutoring program will truly seek joining the military to travel the world and enjoy other cultural experiences,” said Steelworker 1st Class Kenneth Barbour, ASVAB Program Manager.

The NMCB 11 legacy in the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) dates back 60 years.  In October of 1955, members of Mobile Construction Battalion (MCB) 11 deployed from Port Hueneme, California to Kwajalein.  In one year, the Seabees of MCB 11 constructed 78 Department of Defense (DOD) office buildings and 175 one- and two-story concrete block homes, which remain occupied today.

60 years later, NMCB 11 has whole-heartedly embraced their command motto, “Constructing the Future, Remembering the Past”.  The modern Seabees of CCAD Marshall Islands build towards the future of the Marshallese community while remembering the historical feats of those past veterans of MCB 11.

Construction Civic Action Details (CCADs) are deployed throughout the Pacific region to provide an enduring U.S. military presence that directly benefits the local community.  CCAD missions are ongoing in the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Timor-Leste, the Philippines, Cambodia, and the Federated States of Micronesia.  The small details (15 to 25 personnel) draw on the tradition of Vietnam-era “Seabee Teams,” versatile 13-man teams that excelled at military construction and civic action projects in remote rural regions of Vietnam.  Seabee teams continued peacetime construction throughout the Pacific region for decades after the war, sometimes in locations that now have active CCADs.

 

NMCB 11 is a Seabee battalion specializing in contingency construction, disaster response, and humanitarian assistance.  The battalion’s homeport is in Gulfport, Miss.

The Naval Construction Force is a vital component of the U.S. Maritime Strategy.  They offer deployable battalions capable of providing contingency construction, disaster preparation and recovery support, humanitarian assistance, and combat operations support.

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