Seabees assigned to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 4 conducted a highly successful Field Training Exercise (FTX) at Fort Hunter Liggett last month.
FTX marks the defining event for the homeport training regimen, during which the battalion demonstrates proficiency in all aspects of Seabee operations. Conditions simulate the projected operating environment of the battalion’s pending deployment to Europe and Africa.
Prior to FTX, the battalion conducted unit driven training at all levels to ensure all hands were properly prepared to achieve the greatest success in the field. Additionally, the first four days at FTX provided the opportunity for receiving, staging, onward movement and integration (RSO&I), where the battalion conducted the finishing touches for FTX execution.
With the battalion in full FTX mode, scenarios started simple and became progressively more complex through the exercise. With battalion Air Detachment (Air Det) and Mainbody movement tasking mere days apart, the battalion rapidly found itself in full swing. Operations quickly converted to 24-hour mode, and rest became a hot commodity, along with staying warm throughout the night when temperatures fell into the 20s.
After the battalion’s Convoy Security Element delivered Air Det to its new operating location, they found themselves ready for construction and tactical operations. Despite adverse conditions, the det successfully grew into a cohesive, independent team.
While Air Det was working hard at a remote site, the rest of the companies established the Forward Operating Base (FOB). With 100 fewer Seabees than last year’s FTX, the lines were stretched thin. In addition to manning the perimeter, the companies completed several construction projects, including one security tower, one Mabey Johnson Bridge, two bunkers, three Southwest Asia (SWA) huts and an Airfield Damage Repair mission.
A unique aspect of this year’s FTX was sustained galley and shower operations throughout most of the exercise. The Food Service Division served two hot meals per day. The Logistics Support Area resumed serving hot meals a mere 29 hours after moving to Mainbody’s FOB. Showers and hot chow in the field provided a great boost to the troops and maintained positive momentum throughout the exercise.
The final test for NMCB 4 came during an all-out assault on the Mainbody FOB. After receiving simulated mortar and machine gun fire, the battalion vigorously pushed back the enemy and suppressed the attack.
At the end of the exercise, the battalion redeployed to Naval Base Ventura County, Port Hueneme, with “Ready for Tasking” certification for the upcoming 2013 deployment to Europe, Africa and Central Command areas of operations.