News: Seabees construct Joint Operations Center for Exercise Eager Lion 12
AMMAN, Jordan – Seabees from the Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 7 completed construction on a joint operations center May 5 for Exercise Eager Lion 12 on the King Abdullah II Special Operations Training Center here.
The Combined Joint Task Force Spartan JOC is a facility that houses different offices that coordinate and guide day-to-day operations of units participating in Exercise Eager Lion.
Originally slated to be a series of white tables in a warehouse with a few partitions, the Seabees transformed that concept into 30 walled offices and a four-tiered, theater-style command center in less than two weeks.
“It was a lot of hard work and gray hair,” Petty Officer 1st Class Jason Fletcher, NMCB 7, said, “but to wrap up this portion, we're happy. Very impressed with what we've been able to do in this short amount of time.”
The unit's initial mission for Exercise Eager Lion 12 was to support Navy SEALs taking part in the exercise.
“Once I started talking to the SEALs, people recognized there were engineers available for the exercise and the requirement grew from four Seabees all the way up to 27 Seabees,” Lt. Francis Tay, 25th Naval Construction Regiment, said. “As that requirement grew, we picked up the JOC project from the CJTF to set up their headquarters.”
The first challenge the Seabees faced was combining sailors from different groups for the exercise.
“Knowing that we were getting outside support from another detachment that we hadn't worked with before, I was a little nervous at first,” Fletcher, the acting officer-in-charge for the project, said. “We were here half a day and the first thing we did was play a football game. It was a big team-building thing. I got a phone call that said the materials were here and said, 'it's time to go to work boys.' And they were able to turn their hat back around and the next thing you know saws were going.”
According to Fletcher, the team quickly meshed.
“I just kind of stood back, amazed. As the leader of a group of people, you always want to make sure that people are doing their thing and follow-up, but I didn't have to do that much here,” Fletcher said. “Everyone knew their part and did their piece.”
The next obstacle was a mix-up with materials.
“The wrong size tinder, having two-by-eights instead of two-by-twelves, that was a feat,” Fletcher said. “To think that a bunch of 20 year-old kids, young men, with a semi-experienced guy and a really sharp lieutenant 30 minutes later devised a plan and said, 'Let's do this. We can't let this stop us – we're Seabees.'”
After overcoming initial difficulties, the team started their project.
“'Bees started buzzing, lumber started getting cut, hammers started swinging and the next thing you know we have this first section,” Fletcher said. “It went slow at first, but once we got the hang of what we were doing it went fast – real fast.”
At the end of day one, the Seabees had the framework of the entire building completed.
“You could see the pride in their faces at the end of the first day,” Fletcher said. “We were ahead of schedule the entire time we were here and it wasn't because we cracked the whip or worked tons of long hours; it was because they were motivated.”
Less than two weeks later the building was completed, providing a home for the majority of CJTF Spartan's command team.
“We're definitely proud of that fact,” Petty Officer 3rd Class Michael Johnston, a builder in NMCB 7, said. “You can see our sticker on every door. They'll put it to good use.”
Fletcher says he is also proud of his Seabees' work.
“I've worked with similar groups and different countries, but to know that not only myself, but my Seabees, set the footprint to make this exercise happen, to know that every one of these people are going to come in here to use this,” Fletcher said, “it gives me chills.”
However, there is still work to be done for the Seabees in Exercise Eager Lion 12 and beyond.
“These guys are bursting from the seams with pride at what they've provided here and all the partner nations are going to see their work,” Tay said. “The only step up for us would be to do this with the Jordanian engineers, which is what we're trying to do in future instances.”
“We just want to continue to do what we're doing and continue the legacy of the Seabees,” Fletcher said. “I think we're off to a great start with that here.”
Date Posted:05.16.2012 14:09
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