News: Navy Seabees provide critical support to Special Operations Task Force
Story by Maj. Joel Anderson
KABUL, Afghanistan - Naval Mobile Construction Battalions (NMCB), also known as Seabees, and Special Operations Forces (SOF) have a long history of working together and this relationship has been strengthened over the last several months at Camp Phoenix, in Kabul.
A detail of Seabees, from NMCB 133, based out of Gulfport, Miss., traveled to Kabul from Helmand province to assist Combined Special Operations Task Force 10 (CSOTF-10) with the completion of a new joint operations center.
The joint operations center or JOC, is a facility which will be used as the task force headquarters, which will be manned jointly by not only U.S. Army Special Forces, but joint services from across the Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps and is being established for planning, monitoring, and guiding or command and control (C2) of the task force’s several task units (TUs) operating in eastern Afghanistan to execute the task force commanders.
The task force, made up of SOF from the U.S. and several partner nations from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization are currently training and mentoring Special Police Units (SPUs) of the Afghan National Security Forces, throughout eastern Afghanistan.
The SPUs, which are essentially provincially-based Crisis Response Units (CRUs) or SWAT teams, conduct operations that are more complex and high risk, than conventional Afghan police units are equipped to handle, to include high-risk arrests of suspected insurgents.
“We came here to get TF-10’s new JOC fully-mission-capable as soon as possible,” said Lt. J.G. Matthew Christopher, 28, of Billings, Mont. The new nerve center will improve their current working conditions and provide a critical force multiplier for their operations, he said.
Christopher commands the construction detail that carries a wide range of specialties.
In addition to builders and steelworkers, Christopher’s detail also includes electricians and utilities personnel, capable of installing plumbing, heating, ventilation and air-conditioning. The crew has been working steadily to construct workstations, complete electrical service and distribution, and prepare for the installation of climate control systems within an existing three-story structure.
Construction Electrician Chief Brian Evans, the detail’s senior enlisted leader, brings twenty years of experience to the Seabees’ TF-10 mission. He gives all credit for the detail’s success to the younger troops who bring unparalleled motivation and dedication to the mission every day.
“This has been a really great opportunity for our detachment” Evans said. “A lot of our younger people have been able to get a lot of great experience here in a real-world, deployed situation. We always look forward to a chance to support SOF.”
Sgt. Maj. Don Hubbs, the task force senior enlisted adviser, explained, “while they (Seabees) were waiting for some of their materials to finish the JOC, my Operations Sgt. Maj. and 1st Sgt. had some other projects they (Seabees) were able to do for us, it’s going to give us a lot better place here to live and work in. I wish we could keep these guys around permanently.”
Hubbs went on to say, “The Seabees have really become part of the team here, we’ve had a long history together and our bonds are stronger than ever, I cannot thank them enough for their excellent work.”