NMCB 11 Becomes the Ready Battalion

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Michael C. Barton / NMCB 11 PAO

CAMP SHELBY, Miss. – Seabees from Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 11 successfully completed Operation Bearing Duel, the battalion’s field training exercise and final evaluation period (FTX/FEP) at Joint Training Facility Camp Shelby, Miss., Feb. 28.

Operating across 134,820-acres of the largest state-owned and operated field training center in the U.S., FTX tested the Gulfport, Miss., -based battalion’s ability to enter hostile locations, build assigned construction projects and defend against enemy attacks.

NMCB 11 Field Training Exercise

“This was the best field training exercise of the 15 I’ve completed,” said CDR Jorge Cuadros, commanding officer NMCB 11. “From the safety awareness to the tactical mindset and motivation of each and every Seabee, the conditions for success were present at all times. I couldn’t be prouder of this battalion.”

Seabee deployments are task-tailored and often take service members to land-locked areas not visited by the traditional seagoing Navy. Seabee missions range from digging water wells, Bridges, Airfield damage repair and building forward operating base.  FTX prepares the battalion using realistic scenarios and is in line with some of the most demanding training conducted in the military. Seabees manage tactical weapons systems, operate armored vehicles and employ large-load construction equipment in hostile environments.

NMCB 11 Field Training Exercise

“Communication was probably the biggest challenge during FTX,” said Construction mechanic 3rd Class Christine Petty assigned to NMCB 11. “Knowing how to react when communications goes down was the biggest key to success; knowing when to send a runner or how to respond when things don’t go to plan, because they usually don’t .” Among the core competencies evaluated during FTX, command and control, communication and logistics are among the most important. The commanding officer must be able to communicate with troops as they pass intelligence, maneuver throughout the operating area and reinforce the battalion with supplies.

“This was the first time being a team leader on an Entry Control Point during FTX,” said Equipment Operator 2nd class Casey Rider, NMCB 11. “There’s a sharp learning curve experiencing the scenarios first hand when they are right in front of you; essentially adapt and overcome at its finest.” To ensure NMCB 11’s training and evaluation was as complete as possible, NCG 2 employed “aggressors,” consisting of either government contractors or active-duty service members. Using projectile-free ammunitions, or blanks, they attacked NMCB 11’s defensive patrols, convoys and guards standing sentry watches.  Aggressors also performed simulated sniper attacks and posed as civilians trying to gain access to the base.

NMCB 11 Field Training Exercise

The last NMCB 11 convoy returning to Gulfport was scheduled for Feb. 28. Their arrival marked the official return of all NMCB 11 equipment and personnel, as well as the conclusion of the battalion’s training. 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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