News: NMCB 7 Detachment PASAB: Providing Support in Task Force Spartan Area of Operations
Story by Chief Petty Officer Yan Kennon
KANDAHAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Seabees assigned to U.S. Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 7 Detachment PASAB begin multiple projects in support of Task Force Spartan at Forward Operating Base PASAB in Afghanistan’s Kandahar province.
“Do unto others as you would have them to do unto you,” was the message Lt. Russell Martin, NMCB 7 battalion chaplain, shared with Detachment PASAB Seabees during a recent site visit through Kandahar province. Embracing that message the Seabees have met the challenge with overwhelming enthusiasm. From large scale projects to officer in charge discretionary projects, DET PASAB is actively assisting surrounding units in the Task Force Spartan area of operations with skilled manpower, tools and materials, while continuing to strengthen partnering missions with local Afghan National Army personnel.
The first project assigned to the detachment by Task Force Forager / 30th Naval Construction Regiment, was the construction of a concrete aircraft maintenance pad for coalition aerial assets. The 60’x90’ maintenance pad is projected to encompass more than 200 man-days of Seabee direct labor.
During the initial phase of construction, 375 cubic yards (CD) of soil and rock were removed from the site. A total of 400 CD of fill and gravel was placed and compacted over three consecutive days of rain, sleet and snow. In this early stage, the Seabees took advantage of the opportunity, to amass more than 60 hours of cross-training on various pieces of heavy construction equipment, construction management, and quality control procedures, under direction of the detachment assistant officer in charge, Senior Chief Builder Rob Morrison, a native of Clover, S.C.
“We are a small, tight detachment forward deployed to PASAB, Afghanistan to accomplish partnerships, contingency construction, enable war fighter readiness and further enhance the legacy of NMCB 7 and the U.S. Navy Seabees,” said Morrison.
Upon completion of earthwork, the Seabees began the framework phase of the maintenance pad construction. To ensure project specifications are exact, the Seabees built a miniature model of what would be the finished product to verify calculations and vision, as well as train project crewmembers on prefab form-work.
“We want to put egos aside and demonstrate the process, workmanship, and levels of quality control we expect from ourselves,” said Builder 2nd Class Dina Beale, a native of Niceville, Fla., project crewleader. “This training was mandatory for the entire project crew to ensure that everyone was operating on the same page.”
As designated project crews perform specific project tasking, the detachment’s OIC discretionary crew, led by Builder 3rd Class Nathaniel Callaham, a native of Henager, Ala., work diligently on projects in support of units on the FOB, to include the fabrication of six Alaska tent systems and interior wooden decks for soldiers assigned to the Army’s 10th Mountain Division. The Seabees will also elevate sleeping cots and design shelves to elevate personal belongings from the floor surface to prevent personal gear from getting wet during Afghanistan’s rainy season. “We are eager and motivated to assist the war fighters, here at FOB PASAB, by any means possible,” said Utilitiesman 1st Class Eric Bayer, a native of Cleveland, Ohio, Detachment PASAB operations chief.
The detachment’s camp maintenance crew is continually busy with safety and organization improvements on the FOB’s Seabee Logistical Support Area. Power distribution upgrades and routine maintenance have been spearheaded by Construction Electrician 3rd Class Danny Hartless, a native of Clarksville, Tenn. Routine scheduled maintenance is conducted regularly on electrical generators to ensure continuous regulated power to tenant units on the Seabee LSA, such as a civilian K-9 compound and Counter Remote Control Electronic Warfare maintenance area.
“A combat deployment, such as this, provides an excellent opportunity for our Seabees to refine their in-rate skills and develop new skills while supporting various missions here in Afghanistan,” said Ensign Daniel Cloutier, a native of Placerville, Calif., and the detachment’s officer in charge. “We are located in the heart of a major activity hub where the operational tempo is high and demands are constant. Adjacent units here at FOB PASAB have come to value Seabee support due to the great work of our predecessors, and the Seabees of NMCB 7 look forward to carrying forward that reputation.”
NMCB 7 deployed to the Combined Joint Operations Area – Afghanistan, and detachment locations in the Task Group 56.2 AOR, from its homeport of Gulfport, Miss., Jan. 9, to provide a highly responsive and maneuverable engineer force and resources to conduct contingency, mobility and general engineering support operations across supported commander’s lines of operation throughout CENTCOM, to improve the operational capabilities of coalition and U.S. Forces.
NMCB 7, often referred to as the “MAGNIFICENT SEVEN,” is one of the original 10 Seabee battalions authorized by the Chief of the Navy’s Bureau of Yards and Docks, in 1942, and is currently one of nine active NMCBs in the Naval Construction Force, a military engineering force of nearly 17,000 Active and Reserve Component Seabees operating worldwide. Upon completion of their current deployment, NMCB 7 will decommission on Sept. 30 as part of the Fiscal Year 2012 force reduction plan.