United States Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 3 completed Exercise TURNING POINT across the state of California July 26-August 20.
The field training exercise required NMCB-3 to establish a task force on San Clemente Island where it would exercise control over task units, smaller groups assigned to engineering missions specific to task force support, at Camp Pendleton, Fort Hunter Liggett, Naval Air Weapons Station (NAWS) China Lake and Vandenberg Space Force Base.
Exercise TURNING POINT focused on challenging Seabees to build operational infrastructure and expeditionary facilities to simulate the establishment of Forward Naval Bases (ANBs) to support Expeditionary Forward Base Operations (EABOs). EABO involves the employment of mobile, low-signature, persistent, and relatively easy-to-maintain naval expeditionary forces from temporary locations in a contested sea area to perform sea denial, support sea control or allow the maintenance of the fleet. ANBs are temporary bases established in or near an operational area where the primary mission is to support fleet operations such as EABO.
The exercise scenario is new to the Pacific Fleet Seabees from past field training exercises, but has been redesigned to better reflect the challenges they will face in their area of responsibility while deployed to the region. indo-pacific.
“This exercise has determined that we are technically and tactically proficient and ready to deploy wherever we are called upon,” said Cmdr. LaKeeva Gunderson, commanding officer of NMCB-3. “We had challenges and we were very successful in overcoming them. They were many and difficult, which is what we wanted, but we hit our targets flawlessly every time. Our young leaders stepped up to make decisions that enabled us to find other ways to solve problems and fulfill the mission. Additionally, our leaders had to make deliberate risk decisions that continued to drive our projects and mission forward. This is what the exercise is about. »
At the battalion’s main body on San Clemente Island, Seabees, with an attachment of Marines from the 7th Engineer Support Battalion (ESB), established perimeter and ANB security, set up a tactical headquarters and a tactical operations center to secure communications with higher headquarters, set up a battalion aid post; gallley; and showers and laundry to set the conditions for assigning construction tasks. The Seabees executed the construction of ten Southwest Asian huts, 20 tent decks with general-purpose modular tent systems, placed nearly 100 cubic meters of concrete for road repairs, and began construction of a 150 foot by 150 foot concrete pad for vertical take-off and landing.
At Camp Pendleton, Seabees drove 100 linear feet of sheet piling to repair an existing quay wall at Del Mar Boat Basin. At Fort Hunter Liggett, they constructed a 20-by-60-foot prefabricated building and drilled a 600-foot water well capable of producing 60 gallons per minute and 86,000 gallons per day. At NAWS China Lake, they performed maintenance and construction of ground communication lines while conducting blasting and quarry crushing operations. At Vandenberg Space Force Base, Seabees worked with 372 Marine Wing Support Squadron and 7th ESB Marines to complete airfield damage repairs that included 15 craters and 60 splinters, an extension of 200 foot by 85 foot concrete runway and road repairs.
NMCB-3 gained a wealth of experience from the exercise, especially in navigating logistical obstacles by air and sea. The Seabees carried out detailed planning to use civil engineering support equipment, military aircraft and barges to move personnel and materiel to remote locations.
“Planning is paramount when conducting distributed operations,” said NMCB-3 Operations Officer Lt. Reece Comer. “Working through the logistical challenges of getting materials and equipment to an island is not something you can fully understand until you actually do it – and we did. Critical and original is paramount when executing these types of missions with limited supplies, equipment, and personnel, so Seabee’s ingenuity is going to be an invaluable resource for operations in the Pacific.
Additionally, operations on San Clemente Island and Vandenberg Space Force Base served a dual purpose of not only performing sea construction tasks, but also training Marine tactics and Seabee construction skills. to increase the efficiency of the Navy-Marine Corps.
“It gave us an opportunity to move away from what Marines and Seabees can do together on paper and get our here and put it into practice,” said 1st Lt. Anthony Sposato, who leads a team of 7th ESB Marines on San Clement Island. “The Marines gained a lot of experience in vertical construction and engineering expertise, while we were able to teach Seabees what we can do tactically to create a stronger team. In the future, every fight will be a joint fight, and this will allow us to better prepare for it because without training the capability, we lose the effectiveness of interoperability.
Field training exercises require NMCBs to work around the clock to complete construction tasks, self-sufficiency, and maintain security while under constant duress from aggressors attempting to disrupt operations and thwart the Seabee mission. Exercise TURNING POINT took these variables up a notch with increased realism, logistical and communication challenges, and interoperability to prepare NMCB-3 to stand ready to build, sustain, supply, and sustain ANBs and EABOs. in support of U.S. objectives in the Indo-Pacific.
One of the first battalions commissioned at the start of World War II, NMCB-3 has the capability to build and fight anywhere in the world as a full battalion or as a group of self-contained detachments performing simultaneously critical engineering and construction missions.
NMCB-3 is homeported in Port Hueneme, CA. Seabees are the naval service’s expeditionary engineering and construction experts. They provide task-tailored, adaptable, combat-ready engineering and construction forces that deploy to support Navy objectives globally.