War on Terrorism

Sunday, May 23, 2010

NMCB 5 Fights Fire in Afghanistan

From Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 5 Public Affairs

HELMAND PROVINCE, Afghanistan (NNS) -- Seabees from Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 5 responded to a fire near the Camp Krutke compound in Helmand Province May 17.

A supply yard at Camp Leatherneck, Afghanistan unexpectedly burst into flames and burned everything in its path. As the wind intensified, the fire grew larger with every minute.

NMCB 5's Alfa Company played an extremely important role to help keep the fire contained. Comprised of mainly equipment operators and construction mechanics, they staged equipment, supplied water trucks, operated bulldozers and made sure proper resources were used effectively to fight the flames.

"I'm proud of the great job all the Seabees did," said Lt. Cmdr. Marcus Williamson, NMCB 5 operations officer. It was definitely a team effort, [NMCB 5 got] all the resources together and got them pushed out. [We] saw the Seabees really jump in and majorly contributing."

Crews from both Leatherneck and Camp Bastion along with Marines, Seabees, British military and contractors all worked together to contain the fire.

At the time of the fire, NMCB 5 was enjoying a scheduled day off from their six-day work week.

"It was an intense fire," said Utilitiesman 1st Class (SCW) Nicholas Morgan, a Seabee attached to NMCB 5.

To fight a fire with limited resources is a challenge by itself, but the situation became a greater challenge when a wall of sand descended upon Camp Leatherneck.

"It was definitely hot," Morgan said. "When the wind would change, you could feel the heat. It felt like gas being thrown directly into the fire."

Morgan and his crew worked together to coordinate the movement of water trucks moving in and out of the area to assist other commands to battle the fire. The fire engulfed equipment and portable storage containers.

"It was hectic at first, as emergency situations always tend to be," said Lt. j.g. Darren Jacques, NMCB 5 Alfa Company commander. "However, it was really amazing to see how quickly we fell into a battle rhythm. We became very effective once our roles were clearly laid out and everyone knew exactly what their job was."

"I was totally ecstatic just to be out there as a helping hand doing what I could to help," said Operator 2nd Class (SCW) Steven Peeler.

"I couldn't have asked our Alfa personnel to do a better job," said Jacques. "They stuck to the task at hand and we got the job done."

Sailors in the U.S. Navy are taught damage control skills training in boot camp. They learn the basics types of fires and how to extinguish them; NMCB 5 Seabees used these skills the night of the fire.

For more news from Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 5, visit http://www.navy.mil/local/nmcb5/.

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