News: NMCB 5 deploys to the Pacific
Story by LTJG Joshua Olson
NMCB 5 Public Affairs
CAMP SHIELDS, Japan - The main body of Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 5 arrived in Okinawa to relieve the Gulfport, Mississippi-based NMCB 74, Jan. 18, and begin their scheduled six-month deployment.
The group had been scheduled to arrive a day earlier but a mechanical issue was discovered on their aircraft during a refueling stop which kept them overnight while the aircraft was being repaired. The Seabees arrived at Kadena Air Base in Okinawa safely the next day and moved on to Camp Shields, where the deployed battalion headquarters is located.
During the deployment, NMCB 5 will send detachments to at least 17 exercises and missions across the U.S. Pacific Command (PACOM) area of responsibility to conduct operations including humanitarian assistance/disaster relief, theater security cooperation missions, camp maintenance and construction readiness operations.
NMCB 5’s advance party arrived Jan. 3 to conduct a turnover with the “Fearless” Seabees of NMCB 74. Over the two-week span, the members of each battalion conducted a thorough and efficient turnover of all projects, processes, materials, and equipment on Camp Shields. The successful completion of turnover ended Jan. 14 during which the commander of the 30th Naval Construction Regiment, Capt. Rodney Moore, presided over a ceremony transferring authority of Camp Shields from NMCB 74 commanding Officer Cmdr. David McAlister to Cmdr. Peter Maculan, NMCB 5 commanding officer.
With turnover completed and the main body on camp, the Seabees of NMCB 5 are now ready to get to work.
NMCB 5 chaplain Lt. Matthew Riley says that the Seabees are ready for their new mission.
“Through all the preparation and planning, NMCB FIVE troops displayed the highest of hopes and aspirations for this PACOM deployment.”
Lt. j.g. Jonathan Kim is one of the officers in charge who will lead a detachment in Thailand to participate in the 2013 Cobra Gold Exercise.
“I am excited to go represent the Seabees and the United States Navy as a part of this exercise. We will work alongside Thai, Indonesian, and Malaysian militaries to build a schoolhouse which will strengthen alliances and partnerships throughout the region.”
Those staying at Camp Shields will receive a cultural awareness and area orientation brief from Commander, Fleet Activities Okinawa staff. Given the current mood of many Japanese locals in the wake of some headline making incidents involving alleged crimes by U.S. service members, one NMCB 5 sailor said she appreciates the importance of the brief.
“This brief will make sure sailors have an understanding of the policies that are in place in Japan,” said Logistics Specialist First Class Lydia Franklin. “It will help them to better understand the Japanese culture and beliefs.”
NMCB 5 is scheduled to return from their deployment later this summer.