News: Seabees build up the Army
Story by Pfc. Nathan Thome
KANDAHAR, Afghanistan – Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 18 and NMBC 40, have built, improved and expanded outposts and bases throughout Kandahar since July 2010 to help the Army accomplish their mission to deter insurgency.
Seabees specialize in construction, so they can do general engineering in a combat zone utilizing their variety of skills. Their battalions consist of: builders, steel-workers, electricians, plumbers and so on.
NMCB 18, a Reserve unit, stationed out of Fort Lewis, Wash. and NMBC 40, an active duty unit, stationed out of Port Hueneme, Calif., have been conjoined into one unit to operate in 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division’s area of operation.
“Since Camp Nathan Smith is the hub for the region and Task Force Raider is the headquarters, it made sense to locate a Seabees unit there with the battle-space owner,” said Lt. Nathan Rommel, construction officer in charge, NMCB 18.
The Seabees are responsible for the maintenance and expansion of the camp. They built a large majority of the camp, such as: the living quarters, the dining facility and laundry point.
“Our primary mission here is to improve and expand CNS,” said Builder First Class Tito Galindo, builder, NMCB 18. “We’ve completed over $5 million worth of projects in little over 7,000 work days.
The construction battalions have done a lot to help the Army and play a vital role in helping 1st BCT, 4th Inf. Div. accomplish their mission.
The Seabees have provided much needed guidance and many valuable recommendations for camp projects and expansions, said Rommel. We are the go-to guys for everything from generation, maintenance and repairs.
He went on to say that the knowledge and professionalism that we have provided enabled the camp to expand fast and provide seamless life support for more than 1,500 soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and civilian forces.
The Seabees also operate on various combat out posts and forward operation bases throughout the Kandahar province.
A large number of combat outposts in TF Raider have been either built by the Seabees, or have had influence from us, said Rommel. We have Seabees that focus on maintenance, while the others focus on constructing buildings and outposts.
Rommel added that he has had U.S. Army leadership express gratitude for their hard work and dedication to ensure the Army achieves its overall mission.
“Army leadership has told me, ‘before you guys came and built this stronghold, we were getting shot at all the time. But now we have a defended place that we can go to every night; it makes the soldiers feel safer and are better able to do their job,’” said Rommel.
Because of what we’re done here, as far as reaching out to these outposts, the Army is able to more efficiently do its job to help deter insurgency, said Galindo.
“Basically, if you need something built in a warzone, we’re the right people for the job,” said Galindo