An air detachment of 110 Seabees from Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 5 is in New York and New Jersey this month helping in relief and recovery efforts on the East Coast following the devastation caused by Superstorm Sandy Oct. 30.
The unit flew into McGuire Air Force Base in New Jersey Nov. 4 and stayed a couple of nights at the Naval Air Engineering Station in Lakehurst to prepare to push into Breezy Point, Craven Point and Rockaway Point.
The Seabees have been tasked with dewatering efforts in support of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and have been participating in access clearance operations.
“It’s been really great to help those who have lost so much, especially since I grew up in the area,” said Construction Mechanic Constructionman Brian Lanasa, a member of the air detachment who was raised in Long Island. “Yesterday while we were pumping basements in Breezy Point, I ran into a volunteer fireman who is a friend of my father, and we were able to help with his home. He was very appreciative of our support and we were glad to be helping out in a small way as they try and put their lives back together.”
A few of the Seabees also helped with dewatering at the World Trade Center site, then moved to Breezy Point for residential dewatering.
The Seabees are dealing with cold weather. Four to 6 inches of snow has fallen since they arrived.
The last time NMCB 5 was called upon for hurricane disaster relief efforts was in 1989 to support Hurricane Hugo relief efforts in Charleston, S.C., Antigua and Puerto Rico.
Other Seabee battalions helped in recovery efforts after Hurricane Andrew in 1992, the Northridge Earthquake in 1994, Hurricane Ivan in 2004 and Hurricane Katrina in 2005.